Ė Toronto FC ended its 9-game losing streak
with a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia
Union. Substitute Danny Koevermans' goal in
the 88th-minute was the difference in a game
which turned in to a suspense drama for the
Reds faithful as the time elapsed.
The MLS record losing streak came to an end
at BMO Field in Toronto on Saturday May 27,
2012 where Toronto FC shutout its second
opponent in as many games for its most
valuable 3 points ever gained in the dying
stages of an MLS game.
There was a certain inevitability of the
team ending the losing streak after the Reds
early season success in the Champions league
but as the weeks past the unanswerable
question was when was it going to occur?
a divisional opponent with the second worst
record in the league, the Reds were under
the microscope to win or expect changes. TFC
Coach Aron Winter and his Reds team had to
prove that unlucky explanation though valid
would not be a valid excuse in front of the
Watching the Reds missed the easiest of
scoring opportunities in the early part of
the Philadelphia game, it seemed like it was
going to be a case of missed opportunities
was going to come back to haunt the Reds,
especially when Philadelphia hit Toronto FC
crossbar against the run of play.
But give Aron Winter and the team credit for their
efforts, after pitching
a shutout and sticking with the task to
score the game winner with only two minutes
remaining in regulation time. The only bad
part of TFC game was that the four missed chances did not even go to the
teams make their own luck and this was the
types of game that the Reds had to force the
issue to get the much needed result. With
fresh legs and points very much the focus
the Reds managed to score and win the game.
The Reds is on a two week lay off after back to back
shutout wins to secure a
championship and gain its first points of
the MLS season. Making the playoffs is a remote possibility and it is for
this reason that coach Winter should
implement a wide open offensive game plan
from his 4-3-3 formation to finish the
season. Toronto FC back four has improved
drastically with the inclusion of 19-year
old Doneil Henry at the central back with
its fourth Canadian Championships may have
been a major milestone to many but a loss to
the Philadelphia Union would have certainly
diminished the team's Canadian Championship
accomplishment and add to the already
strange developments of the 2012 season.
In a 19 team league Toronto FC is now the team with the
worst start to a MLS season. The diehard
supporters are still optimistic that the
Reds can go on a phenomenal run to make the
playoffs. If not, the players and coaches
will have to prove that they are worth
keeping after such a disastrous start.
the assessment, one thing is for certain in
my mind, the Reds got caught up in the
moment of playing before their largest crowd
of 48,658 at the Rogers Centre and rode the
momentum to eliminate Beckham and the LA
Galaxy and lost focus.
all important MLS home opener against San
Jose Earthquakes resulted in an embarrassing
3-0 shutout loss in front of their fans at
against San Jose was not just the home opener loss it was also an eye opener to
the tendencies of the young Reds team.
Toronto FC as inspired for the next match semi final
against Santos Laguna in the Champions
League and held the powerful Mexico team to
a 1-1 draw at BMO Field. But before playing
Laguna the away leg in Mexico the young
Toronto team suffered another devastating
1-0 loss at home against Columbus Crew.
The 1-0 should have been a reality check for the Reds
coaching staff since the Reds was not
favored to return from Mexico with a win. To
everyone surprise including the Laguna home
fans the Reds went into Mexico and took the
action to Laguna, but blew two leads before
6-2 to send their season tumbling down.
last Saturday it took the Reds 7 games to
finally figure out how to win in the MLS. At
the end of the day it is the Reds fans who
suffered the most from the roller coaster
season. Coach Winter has showed his
appreciation for the fans after every home
game he and his players walk over to the
stands to acknowledge the fans as an
appreciation of their support.
The last two walks were the most enjoyable
as it included the lifting of the Canadian
Championship and the first win of the MLS
season. During the losing streak Winter was
under intense pressure from the Toronto
Winter is a calm and calculated individual
who is unflappable when it comes to sticking
with the positives, but his reluctance to
get into the negative side created an
irritation for the local media who in
fairness may have felt they were being
objective with the team on a losing streak.
Like most I am of the belief that competitive sports
is like life, you lose some and you win some
but one show always try to win more than you
lose. The coaching job is entirely different
in that regard since you can win and still
lose your job.
My question remains, how is Toronto FC suppose to get to
the next level when some of the local types
continue to make slight comments
(technically) about certain players who have
been contributing to the team?
In sport the best of athletes have a bad day so it is just
a matter of time before these targeted
players have a mediocre game and coach
Winter be put under pressure to demote them
from the starting line up.
The last time I checked the responsibility of a head coach
was to select the best available players to
help his or her team win games and Winters
has been at his best in regard to
situational substitutions for the last five
Toronto advance to Champions League semi
allows win to slip away against
Champions League quarter final clash between
Toronto FC and LA Galaxy was played before a
sold out crowd of 47,658 at Rogers Centre,
in downtown Toronto on Wednesday. It was an
electrifying atmosphere and the Reds
responded with an early goal in the 12th
minute of play to get the already pumped up
Ryan Johnson released a crashing left footed
roofer as the finishing touches to a rebound
from a melee in front of the Galaxy
goalmouth. Johnson jump-kicked the corner flag
as part of his goal celebration
being mobbed by his teammates.
The crowd was hardly settled from Johnsonís
goal when Luis Silva doubled Toronto FC's
lead in the 18th minute. Silva goal was from
a right side cross by Torten Frings which he
redirected with his head into the far post.
The goal was one of those which goalkeeper Josh Saunders would have liked to
have back after diving late and over the
ball on a clear header.
majority of TFC fans were overjoyed and I'm
sure also a bit
surprised. No one (in their right mind)
catered for Toronto to be leading the Galaxy
2-0 with less than a half of the match played. I
thought the Reds would have won going into
the match but the they took their feet
off the pedal and it gave Galaxy the room in
which they can operate effectively.
added space was deadly since LA was already having a
lot of offensive success down their left
side from the opening whistle and that had
nothing to do with a few unforced errors in TFCís defense in the early part of the
match. Surprisingly no noticeable adjustment
was made to solidify TFC soft spot.
Los Angeles players were reaching the edge
of Toronto FC's 18 yard line with options to
dribble or pass, but to the right side
defenders Richard Eckersley and Ty Harden's
credit they did not allow a clear shot to be
taken. However, it was just a matter of time
before LA broke the shutout.
Needless to say Mike Magee scored in the
28th minute to cut the Reds lead
in half and the score remained unchanged to
the half. It is safe to say that defensive
coverage was the main topic of conversation
in the dressing rooms since both teams
scored rather easy in the first half.
To the coaches credit both teams played
close to their best defensively in the
second half but the trade-off seemed to be a
disinterested in scoring. Maybe Coach Bruce
Arena did not want to give up early goals
like the start of the game and on the other
hand Coach Aron Winter was pleased with the
Reds lead, either way, most of the second
half game was played in the center of the
a result Toronto FC supporters provided most
of the entertainment in the second half.
Every time David Beckham went to take a
corner kick, the fans would throw streamers
in an attempt to break his concentration.
Other than the supporters, the Galaxy began
to take control of the midfield. In the last
10 minutes of the game David Beckham and
Landon Donovan were creating space and
getting most of the touches on the ball and
it seemed like Toronto had resigned to hold
on for time and time was not on their side
on this day.
Beckham was bending it on every set play and
was a little more than Toronto fans would
have liked since Galaxy finished with an
advantage of 11 to Toronto's 2 in free kicks
and 9 to 6 in corner kicks. Toronto FC and
goalkeeper Stephan Frei got a heavy dosage
of in-swingers and out-swingers in the late
going until Captain
Donovan found a way to pounce on a loose
ball from in close to tie the game 2-2.
It was a game that the home team was in the
best position to win and should have won.
But Toronto FC has beaten FC Dallas
in Dallas to
reach the quarter finals and can beat the
Galaxy in Los Angeles next Wednesday in the
rematch, providing that they can maintain
the lead for the full 90 minutes.