Man, that was some mildly entertaining soccer last night.
Being one of the only people in the park (alongside my sister) I could feel a victory coming on. For reasons I can't quite describe, I just felt it. Maybe it was watching the starters warm up, maybe it was just bad tacos but I looked at the field, saw the talent that we have at our disposal and I thought "No matter HOW we do this, we are beating Toronto."
I've seen almost all of the TFC matches this season and I have been pretty disappointed in their team effort most games. They lack creativity, don't connect well past midfield, and they seem to lack commitment to winning. It was much like the match that TFC had at PHP last year: A forgettable win for the Hoops.
A few thoughts:
- Jacobson is in a role where we really need him to start linking passes together and finding open men and he's struggling with that. However, his clogging up the midfield was really impressive. If there was a loose ball, he was gunning for it. If any player in a white jersey had possession near him, he hounded them with perfect timing and finesse. I can't remember Jacobson drawing an ugly foul all night, and he sure played hard enough that even one mistake could have earned him a card. As it is, he hassled the hell out of the TFC attack and they had an impossible breaking through him and when they DID, Hernandez was there backing it up. Excellent work from Jacobson, though he needs to start getting involved in the attack more and that makes me wonder: Is this a coaching issue? Or has he specifically been instructed to defend more than attack?
- Jackson made some sloppy mistakes in the first few minutes but beyond that he played a sharp, quick, creative brand of soccer, the kind that earned him some trust late last season. I was wary the first 20 minutes when I saw him get too comfortable with the ball deep in the back and make some lazy passes, but that corrected itself as the game went on. He really was excellent.
- Loyd wasn't too visible but again he had great timing and made decent runs into the attack. Nothing stellar or noteworthy, but his contribution is good. I'd like to see him get up into the attack more often as I believe he holds the ball better than most of our defenders and thus makes him more capable as overlapping flank support.
- How good are George John and Ihemelu together when they're clicking? SO GOOD. I have complete faith in them as a pair and last night evidenced that. They're poised, have excellent positional sense and near perfect timing to win 50-50 air balls. I never really saw them exposed except for once six minutes through the first half where they were caught completely out of position by the TFC attack and left a gaping hole that allowed them to get a shot off that Hartman had to dive to save. Peterson took a shot that was allowed to him by Ugo losing his footing. What's scary about that one play is that Shea was the only one covering a TFC winger on the right. Thank god for Hartman. That wide-open winger thing has killed us in recent games.
- Castillo was a bit selfsh on the night and missed PRIME passing opportunities or set-ups. This is something that he can be coached on. I believe his reticence to pass the ball either out of excitement, too much confidence in his ability or simple distrust is the reason he was not nearly as effective. We need to see more passes from him like the one he had against Colorado to Ferreira.
- Marvin was playing like a man possessed at one point. His gutsy, determined play defending the mid -as well- as attacking made his contribution a bit more meaningful. While he wasn't as effective in the attack as he's been in the past (he was decent though), his ability to make timely tackles and break through those same tackles (sometimes double-teamed) applied to him stood out.
-Reyes was all over the damn place with his calls. The silliest of fouls were called while simple slip ups he whistled vehemently on. About the PK? Looked close. Cann DID bring down GJ but how much of it was intentional I can't quite tell. A foul is a foul though, and PKs for fouls in the box. Winter came out looking like a spoiled child in that interview. Since when has MLS EVER obviously called a game in FCD's favor? Winter better be fined, and I hope we head something public about it. A coach should never whine so openly, it's disgraceful. It's not as if Toronto didn't have another 45 minutes.
- Overall out attack I thought was decent, but suffered greatly from almost zero presence in the box. Our usually crossing was ineffective as the box was devoid of any players. Castillo was on the wings a LOT. Why so gun-shy FCD?
That's it for now. Maybe some day I'll do some proper editing.