TFC win home opener
|Toronto 2011 MLS Update|
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Toronto FC bounce back to win home opener
Toronto FC rode the wave of two timely goals from Dutchman Javier Martina, to register a 2-0 win over the expansion Portland Timbers in front of 20,086 at BMO Field in downtown Toronto in sub-zero temperatures.
TFC fans supported their team throughout the match in spite of the temperatures which seems to indicate that they have seemingly gotten over their frustrations of last season end, when the team failed to make the playoffs and of their ticket price dispute with management.
While a victory in the first at home is usually a good start towards the healing process, it is no secret that the win was against the expansion Timbers and a loss would have had devastating affect on the fans that needs nothing less than a playoff berth.
The Reds was coming off a 4-2 lost to the Vancouver Whitecaps in a game which the Reds played fairly well offensively, but could not make heads or tails of what was required in their defensive coverage.
But the Reds were welcome the team back home with supportive banners which read, “Loyal we started, loyal we remain”.
Toronto will be playing 4 of its first 6 games at home and with the fan support would need positive results. Thanks to some nifty clean up work by Dutchman Javier Martina, the Reds got on track last Saturday with its first win.
It was also Coach Aron Winter first career win as a manager before a festive crowd at BMO Field. The celebrations started as early as the 14th minute, when De Rosario poked a pass backwards to an incoming Martina who drove the ball low pass the keeper and into the Timbers net.
But Toronto’s has been in a giving mood this season with generous turnovers in dangerous position. This is a problem that Coach Winters will have to sort out since it’s beginning to look like his players may lack confidence on the ball and a reshuffled back line does not help.
Whatever the case, coach Winter had a full week’s practice to sort out the problem which was evident the previous game in Vancouver. With his starting central back Nana Attakora missing this game and expected to return next Saturday, he needs to address the problem head on.
It is obvious that coach Winter wants to maintain his offensive 4-3-3 formation to which I am a supporter, but that also goes with the players having to move away from formations which they have played for most of their careers and keep more possession of the ball.
While Rome was not built in a day, I must admit that Toronto FC has had a potent offensive base on the formation. De Rosario’s scored in transition against Vancouver and Martina’s second goal is also a tribute to the extra attacker available in the formation.
It was on a counter attack in the 70th minute that Javier Martina was able to put the game out of reach of the Portland Timbers. Martina received a 60-yard pass straight from goalkeeper Stefan Frei, which he ran unto and scored with only one touch over and beyond the ‘keepers reach.
However, in order for the Reds to win decisively they will have to at least reduce the giveaways in the middle area of the field that is the most direct path to the TFC goal. This should not be difficult since Coach Winter made his living as a defensive midfielder.
Granted Julian De Guzman is on the injured list and has not played in the two matches. But even De Guzman with his customary high percentage of ball possession cannot control when his team mate decides to turn the ball over.
What De Guzman can help and control is the central area of the field where these turnovers are allowed and are the most dangerous. But until De Guzman returns coach Winter will have to find a band-aid solution which can stop the bleeding and to maintain possession of the ball.
The Reds effectiveness of defending against opposing strikers should be another area of concern for coach Winter. Timbers forward Kenny Cooper created havoc with TFC’s back line throughout the game and so did Eric Hassli up front for the Whitecaps last week.
But jump high or jump low you can’t beat the atmosphere at Toronto’s BMO Field where the Reds fans are determine to maintain their status as the best fans in the MLS league. Toronto plays Chivas USA this Saturday at BMO Field at 1pm (TSN).
….Stay Tuned for pictures!.
Whitecaps mobilize its 12th man to defeat Toronto
Vancouver Whitecaps win MLS debut over Toronto
Vancouver BC:: Vancouver Whitecaps made an impressive start to its inaugural MLS season with a decisive 4-2 victory over Toronto FC. The game was played before a sold out crowd of 22,592 here at Empire Field last Saturday.
The Whitecaps rode the rhythm of an energetic home crowd in a highly entertaining match in which the partisan crowd got its money worth in thrills and chills, after it was realized that their Whitecaps four-goal offensive outburst, did not make them a clear cut winner.
The spotted Toronto FC supporters on hand also had a few joyous moments, but unfortunately those moments were half as much as the Whitecaps fans enjoyed. The historic game was yet another bench mark in the winning tradition of the Vancouver Whitecaps franchise history as Designated Player Eric Hassli registered the first Vancouver Whitecaps goal while Dwayne De Rosario’s scoring mastery continues as he put a halt to the Whitecaps extended celebration which also included a stoppage in play.
But captain cook did spoil their fun somewhat as TFC Captain De Rosario broke free down the right side to score the Reds equalizer to silence the crowd. Then it was announced that De Rosario’s goal was the 8,000 goal in MLS history.
The stoppage in play occurred when Whitecaps FC fans threw their packages of white ponchos which they had received from the team onto the pitch as part Eric Hassli historic first goal celebration. It was a break which I am sure worked well into the Whitecaps player’s game plan.
It was also a moment in which the Whitecaps management could have reflected on their years of investment and the positive way in which the city and the team had reacted from their two years wait to play in the MLS after acceptance. Though the stats sheet shows De Rosario’s goal as being scored five minutes after the Whitecaps historic first goal, the time which had elapsed was much shorter due to the celebration stoppage of the Whitecaps as the clock continued to tick.
Vancouver capitalized on Toronto questionable flank coverage to regain the lead, when Chiumiento was allowed to dribble through the TFC left side to set up Terry Dunfield’s who in turn beat Frei with a low shot to the last post for a 2-1 lead.
What little ponchos were left was thrown onto the field for Dunfield’s goal and a very exciting first half of soccer ended with 5 minutes of extra time added on. The first MLS game in Vancouver was providing a high level of soccer and excellent weather.
After two days of rain and overcast condition prior to the game, the sun appeared two hours before kick off. This set the stage for an electrifying atmosphere at Empire Field Stadium where the city came out in white to support its new MLS franchise. The fact that the Whitecaps never trailed in the contest made life a lot easier for the Whitecaps faithful but they were aware that Toronto was pushing forward in search of the equalizer before the half.
However, Toronto lack of confidence on the ball was Vancouver’s gain. Harris opened up a 3-1 lead in the 63rd minute when he converted on a Russell Teibert corner kick which found its way to the steady midfielder.
Toronto struggled to get into a rhythm, and while swiveling the ball beautifully across its back four there was no movement in the central midfield position to create alternative plays. Hence the Reds flank plays were predictable and getting the ball to the byline was extremely difficult.
Vancouver went ahead 4-1 in the 72nd minute when Hassli score his second of the game to set up an embarrassing situation for Toronto FC to be blown out. The fact that Hassli scored in an empty net from a 2 and 1 breakaway on goalkeeper Frei did not help the situation either.
But give Toronto FC credit. At a time when many teams would have folded, the Reds responded with a Maicon Santos scored in the 74th minute. Maicon’s goal was a bullet from just outside the area to the left.
His left footed cannon whisk pass goalkeeper Joy Nolly who did not even have time to think far less move. It was undoubtedly the goal of the game, but the Vancouver four goals were enough as the ‘Caps rode the momentum of its home crowd to win 4-2 in its MLS debut.
Vancouver travels to play Philadelphia while the Reds will have to make defensive adjustment to face the expansion Portland Timbers at BMO this Saturday at 2pm.
Whitecaps coach cautiously optimistic against Toronto FC
In what will be Major League Soccer (MLS) first ever all Canadian clash, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Coach Teitur Thordarson’s has been cautiously optimistic when talking about his team’s chances against the restructured Toronto FC at Empire Field on Saturday afternoon. Under new head coach and Technical Director Aron Winter, Toronto’s 4-year franchise will be severely tested by their arch rivals. If Whitecaps has an edge it will be in its team chemistry from building around its USSL Division 2 team of last season before its home crowd. Stay Tuned!
MLS opens with TFC vs Vancouver
On Saturday March 19, 2011, Vancouver Whitecaps will face Toronto FC to open their inaugural season in Major League Soccer (MLS), and will have the luxury of playing in front of their energetic home crowd at Empire Stadium in Downtown Vancouver
Though the Whitecaps may have a few nervous energies to start their first match in the MLS, it may be safe to say that Toronto FC under new coach Aron Winter will have their share of anxieties depending on the run of play and final score of the game.
Toronto FC has a front loaded 2011 MLS schedule and will be playing at BMO Field regularly towards the early part of the season. With 4 years seniority advantage over the Whitecaps in the MLS, Toronto FC is favored to gain a positive result on Saturday.
However, Toronto preseason record is 2-5-2 while Vancouver is 4-5-2. Vancouver has nothing to lose besides in a mere opening match of its first MLS season, and is in the driver’s seat, while Toronto FC has a lot to lose especially as the defending Nutrilite Canadian champions.
Whitecaps FC can suffice its home fans with a close final score and a good competitive performance while the Reds and coach Winter may have to win on Saturday to show that the organization has made the right choices after making full scale changes in the off season.
After accepting Toronto FC as the first Canadian franchise in 2007, the American run MLS league has opened its doors to its northern neighbours by including Vancouver for its 2011 season and allowing Montreal Impact to debut as the third Canadian team in 2012.
Toronto FC has made the MLS and Canada proud through its ability to market the sport of soccer in Toronto and Canada, while Vancouver Whitecaps is a safe bet to be a successful Canadian franchises in the MLS based on its experience as a soccer city.
Vancouver has the experience, expertise and a history of winning championships, while Toronto FC has proven that one can also be a very quick learner with savvy business skills to survive in the soccer industry.
While TFC has been promoted as the blue print for soccer franchises in North America, the Reds has found it extremely difficult to facilitate the number one fans in the league by making the MLS playoffs since its inception.
In trying to change the tides for the 2011 season, the Reds organization has made household changes in the off season and hired former German soccer star and now business consultant Jurgen Klinsmann who in turn brought in Dutchman Aron Winter as the coach.
The Reds much publicized problem of the past is an area in which Vancouver is miles ahead. TFC set up its operation based on a 1-man show with Mo Johnson holding all the cards on all important soccer decisions.
During his TFC tenure Mo Johnson was the Coach, Technical Director, General Manager, and Director of
Soccer Operations in an inexperience franchise to soccer. In contrast, Vancouver Whitecaps has been in existence since 1974 and played in the USSF Division II League in 2010.
Combined with a rich soccer history, winning is also part of the Whitecaps tradition. Whitecaps FC won the NASL Soccer Bowl championship IN 1979 and from 1987 to 1992, won 4 straight CSL titles as a member of the Canadian Soccer League.
Since 2004, Whitecaps FC have won 2 United Soccer Leagues 1st Division championships and two USL W-League championships. The Whitecaps has playing facilities, and will be moving from Empire Field where they will open the season to the new BC Place Stadium in early October.
However, not to be totally overlooked, Toronto FC has won back to back Nutrilite Canadian Championships in 2009-2010 over the likes of Montreal Impact and these same Vancouver Whitecaps and should not be taken lightly, in spite of its growing pains.
With a big difference in the history of these two franchises, there is no doubt that both coaches Aron Winter and Teitur Thordarson of the Whitecaps will be going to win the game on Saturday. Tune in on Saturday on TSN at 6:30PM, to watch Canada’s biggest soccer cities do battle.
Whitecap experience in the business should be its biggest asset, but watching at the two team’s off season player acquisition and requirement preference I think only Saturday will tell which tale of the tapes holds the advantage.
Stay Tuned right here, for more updates on the Whitecaps and Toronto FC clash direct from Vancouver.
….Stay Tuned for more pictures!