Extraordinarily, despite being 0-9 in the Major League Soccer season, Toronto FC managed to clinch victory in the Voyageurs Cup with a victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps to become the champions of Canada for the 4th consecutive year. This will hopefully provide the club with a boost in confidence so that they can go out and play well and get some points in the coming weeks. [Continue Reading]
My answer tends to be that Toronto FC should keep Winter around – at least until the end of the next season. From someone who watches the games, it is quite easy to see that the overall talent on the squad has improved, as has the style of play. A new manager will mean more changes that may not necessarily bring TFC results. I think that this is a case of the club being more unlucky than bad. Clearly the issue is with the defense, something that is not necessarily related to Aron Winter (or which can at least be fixed by bringing in better personnel).
Joao Plata, Reggie Lambe, Ryan Johnson, Eckersley, Morgan, Silva and Avila have all been good additions to the squad under Winter’s tenure. All of these players would start in other MLS rosters, or at least make a good account of themselves and get regular minutes.
While that does lead to the quite strong conclusion: “If the players are good then it must be the manager” – I think nothing will be gained by getting a new manager simply because the DEFENSIVE players are not fine. 18 goals in 8 games is probably not Winter’s fault or a fault of his tactics.
Not only have I been annoyed at the terrible performances by the Toronto FC defense, my blog spam prevention is apparently as shoddy as the TFC back four. I have no idea how I have gotten about 400 comments through the CAPTCHA in the comments. I have temporarily disabled the comments until I can sort this situation out. F’n spammers
Aron Winter mentioned this in one of his press conference: there is no need for TFC or the fans to panic yet. Sporting Kansas City have shown that the first 10 games of the season, in which they only won once, doesn’t predict the outcome of the rest of the season. Toronto have played well and attractively with good attacking soccer – it is simply a problem of massive defensive errors. While there is no reason to be confident those errors will be dealt with there is no reason to panic yet either.
You can add another homegrown signing to the Toronto FC team from the TFC Academy – this time more out of necessity than out of any desire to develop talent. After Stefan Frei broke his leg, the team needed to fly in a backup goalkeeper. Now, instead of going outside of the club to find a backup, they have promoted from within. This shouldn’t affect TFC much except for in Canadian Championship play, as Milos Kocic has shown that he is more than capable of handling the starting keeper duties.
Much was made about the desire of the Chivas USA organization to copy the model of their “parent club” Chivas of Guadalajara in only playing Mexican players. In fact, this rule led to the Guadalajara based side releasing Omar Salgado, who had to leave the club after deciding to play internationally for the United States. Eventually he was drafted first overall by the Vancouver Whitecaps last year. Chivas has gone on to produce fantastic players such as Javier Hernandez of Manchester United, Carlos Vela of Arsenal and Carlos Salcido of Fulham.
While not all Torontonians either play for Toronto FC or for the Canadian national soccer team, there are quite a few good ones out there both in Major League Soccer and especially in Europe. Let’s take a quick look at the list of GTA talent. [Continue Reading]
The message going into the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals against Santos Laguna is to be prepared for anything on the pitch and off the pitch. While the club knows this is the biggest game in the history of the organization, everyone appeared quite loose. Here is Winter appearing before the media in Toronto before setting off for Mexico:
One thing we have noticed this year is that Toronto FC finally play with a style and with a purpose going forward. That was true for the first 80 minutes, as Winter’s squad dominated possession and played a majority of the game in Columbus’ defensive third.
A quick look at the stats reveals the following: more shots (14-10), more corner kicks (8-4), more open play crosses (31-12), and more possession (55.6% in Toronto’s favor), yet a 1-0 loss, with Toronto only having scored one goal in their first three Major League Soccer games.
What went wrong? The same things that went wrong in Seattle, against SJ, against LA in both legs of the CCL quarterfinals, and against Santos on the conceded away goal to Hercules Gomez. [Continue Reading]
With a mixed but inspired result against Mexican league leaders Santos Laguna in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League, Aron Winter and Paul Mariner will have managed to learn a few things about the club that, if they didn’t know yet – they definitely know now.
Despite the cynicism of fans, Toronto FC have actually played decently enough against both Seattle and San Jose – losing primarily because of bad defensive mistakes. This was also the case with the goal the club conceded against Santos to Hercules Gomez – a simple spacing error and lapse by the back line that led to the opening for the lob pass forward from Darwin Quintero.
You also have gotten a much different tone from Aron Winter in each of the past games this season as opposed to last season. Last season Winter would focus on how badly the team played even when the club got results and even when they won the Canadian Championship over Vancouver. This season he spends most of his press conferences talking about how he felt the team was “unlucky” or “played well but made defensive errors”. Maybe it is because it is now his team after a year of changes or – more accurately – we have seen a real change in the style of the team. Well, actually, they actually have a style of play now as opposed to the mess that went on with Preki in charge.
We have learned that TFC, under the management of Aron Winter and with the attacking players he wants on the pitch, are going to be a smooth flowing, creative, attacking side. Reggie Lambe, Joao Plata, Ashtone Morgan, Nick Soolsma, Ryan Johnson and Richard Eckersley clearly demonstrate the attacking mindset of the club. TFC are going to be quick and creative on the wings. They also have great depth in those positions. [Continue Reading]
11 days before Toronto FC are to face off against the team that beat Seattle in the CONCACAF Champions League, they lose to Seattle 3-1 and lose captain Torsten Frings to a hamstring injury. Here is the breakdown of the game:
The 3-1 scoreline seemed pretty just, although at times the game was played quite evenly, with TFC getting a number of chances, including the on-fire Ryan Johnson hitting the post in what could have been an equalizing goal before the end of the first half. Seattle’s first goal came off a bad clearance in the box (similar to the second goal let up at Rogers Center against LA) after Seattle winger Alvaro Fernandez beat his man to cross the ball into the box nicely. The other two goals were fairly avoidable if TFC had played the off-side trap better.
The crucial moments in the match did not go well for Winter’s team, as they hit the post and lost Torsten Frings to injury both in the first half. Seattle also went up 2-0 – only to have Ryan Johnson respond with a fantastic goal – only to have Seattle respond a minute later with David Estrada getting his third goal of the night.
Keeping this game in perspective, the match was played on the road in Seattle, who are a top team in MLS. Toronto attacked well, but had poor defending. The team will need to work on the offside trap going up against Santos.