Toronto FC 1 Chivas USA 1: Two Points Dropped Or One Point Gained?By: Sairax | April 3rd, 2011
This review was written by Saurabh of Hoffenheim Offside. Thanks to him for his help and make sure to check out his blog!
It may have been important to start playing immediately after losing Dwayne De Rosario in a trade to New York. We got to see new boy Tony Tchani in action right away and he showed glimpses of the vision and creativity that is sometimes lacking in THE MLS. It also backs up claims that he’d be a great prospect, a promising player who could fit so well into the new system Aron Winter is trying to bring to Toronto.
Toronto FC: Starters: Stefan Frei, Danleigh Borman, Nana Attakora (65′), Adrian Cann, Ty Harden, Tony Tchani, Maicon Santos, Jacob Peterson (46′), Javier Martina, Alan Gordon, Alen Stevanovic (70′)
Bench: Milos Kocic, Oscar Cordon, Dan Gargan, Dicoy Williams (65′), Ashtone Morgan, Julian de Guzman (46′), Joao Plata (70′)
Chivas USA: Starters: Dan Kennedy, Michael Lahoud, Heath Pearce, Andrew Boyens, Ante Jazic, Nick LaBrocca, Marcos Mondaini (67′), Ben Zemanski, Jorge Flores, Justin Braun (86′), Alejandro Moreno
Bench: Sergio Arias, Zach Thornton, Gerson Mayen (67′) Francisco Mendoza, Seth Owusu, Mariano Trujillo, Victor Estupinan (86′)
The game itself should have been an easy one but we didn’t make it that way for ourselves at all. The game started off with a goal for Chivas in the first two minutes. After getting tangled up the ball bounced off Attakora and fell perfectly for Moreno to slide the ball past Frei. This would continue with Chivas piling on the pressure and Attakora making a few more mistakes. Just as I started swearing him out though he came up with a few important tackles and blocks to redeem himself. With a combination of luck, poor finishing and good defending we managed not to concede another goal in the following few minutes.
The game did manage to pick itself up with the momentum swinging TFC’s way. One of the best chances of the first half came for Alan Gordon. The ball went out to Javier Martina who then put in a perfect cross. Gordon leaped over the his man to get his head to the ball, unfortunately, he only hit the post. A snap shot by Maicon Santos just a few moments later was parried poorly but the Chivas keeper managed to smother it before the Stevanovic could get to the rebound.
The goal did come eventually, a freekick swung in well and this time Alan Gordon headed it home. The equaliser lifted the crowd after a frustrating first half and you could see by the celebration that it lifted the players as well. The team continued to turn the screw on Chivas and we should have had the lead just before half time.
We all know it’s not an MLS game without a blunder from the referee. Martina picked up a corner and hammered it towards goal. And as hard as he tried, even Maicon couldn’t miss it. Unfortunately the goal was wrongfully ruled off for offside to the outrage of the everyone watching. It’s alright though, I admire THE MLS’s commitment to diversity by letting blind people ref games.
Toronto came out of the gates stronger in the second half with more of the same. It was almost all TFC from then on and you expected us to take the lead. The chance came on the hour mark when a great pass sent Maicon. He could have squared it across the box for a tap in, but being a striker he took the selfish choice. He managed to beat the keeper which sent everyone in the ground on their feet, most already celebrating. But his touch was too heavy and allowed the Chivas defender to get back and put off his shot. It was surprising when our best finisher, Maicon, missed the open goal (sarcasm). Stevanovic was understandably angry, he had made a great run and was in perfect position to roll the ball into the open net.
And it was at that point when I knew the game was over and that there would be no hope. Chivas managed to get a period of pressure on us which forced a few solid saves from Frei. How embarrassing would it have been if we had lost to a LaBrocca strike. Yeah, I felt you flinch. The game would end without any more goals, 1-1. Hard earned first points for Chivas but as a TFC fan we can see this as 2 points dropped.
Full Time Stats (via MLSsoccer.com): Toronto FC v Portland Timbers
On target 4-7
Possession % 43-57
Despite the slow start it was a positive performance that showed that Winter’s system will eventually work. A stark contrast to Prekiball that’s already having a positive response. Given time we should have a team that’s capable of entertaining and winning, and Aron Winter has taken the team a few steps in the right direction. While we can expect to drop points every now and then to poor teams, the performances in those games are going to be what matters. Do we move the ball well, do we create enough chances, do we defend well? The answer to those questions were “yes” for the most part and you can’t fault that.
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