Not Expecting Miracles – TFC v Houston Pre Game
Well I hope that everyone was not expecting miracles. This is still Mo and Preki’s team after all. After the loss Wednesday evening against RSL in the Champions League I got a chance to watch the game again for a second time. I really wanted to take a look at what I was seeing on the field from the boys in comparison to the previous game against DC, that of course precipitated the drama surrounding the team this week.
A better effort was certainly there, especially in the first half. The goal that Maicon Santos scored early on came from O’Brian White pressuring the RSL defender into the giveaway that led to the goal. Peterson played through a couple of decent crosses that almost led to a 2-nil TFC lead. And a little help from the official would have led to a penalty for Toronto and of course the goal that gave RSL the lead on the free kick where five RSL players were offside would have not counted.
Jason Kreis to his credit, and to the credit of his club, did a good job adjusting at the half and bossed the game pretty well from them on in. Mista I think is getting real close to earning the the “Laurent Robert” Bust Award, where a player that did real well elsewhere at the top levels of the sport craps the bed in Toronto. His foolhardy stomp on hippie man Kyle Beckerman (that Beckerman really made a meal of by the way) only six minutes after coming on meant that there was no coming back or TFC. Nick Garcia, slow footed and out of position as always tackled Will Johnson that led of course to a penalty and a 4-1 result.
Toronto getting anything from this game, let’s be realistic people, would have been a miracle. And no miracle came.
And there is no rest for the wicked. Toronto plays Saturday evening in a hot and sweaty Houston Texas. The weather folks are calling for a partly cloudy and humid evening with the temperature only getting down to 22 degrees. So on top of the emotions and upheaval of the week before they left on the road trip, Toronto must play in the heat and humidity of southern Texas on two days rest after playing at altitude in Utah.
Luckily for Toronto the new Houston Dynamo are not exactly the old Houston Dynamo. Toronto’s recent woes (especially on the road) we all know about. Houston have been almost as bad. In their last ten games the Dynamo have only won once, drawing four and losing five. Brian Ching has been less than excellent this year. Midfield linchpin Brian Mullan has been traded and they currently sit last in the western conference.
MLS official Edwin Jurisevic is in charge Saturday. Toronto has seen him three times before, the first time in 2009. TFC has never won with him in charge, with a loss and two draws to show for their troubles. Most recently he officiated the draw against FC Dallas at BMO Field in July. And he may be a busy man. The last time these clubs met Julian de Guzman was red carded for a little on field scrap and Amadou Sanyang was also red carded in injury time as TFC was pushing hard to hold onto their win. Bad blood was the order of the day that game and players have long memories.
I have already in this space pretty well written off the playoffs, and after Wednesday evening it looks like the Champions League is going to be a stretch as well. So lowered expectations are the order of the day. TFC has sucked on the road, of that I think we all can agree upon. And this team that Mo and Preki built is what Dasovic has to work with until the end of this season. Wednesday night past the result on the scoreboard was not as reflective of the on field play as it may seem. Toronto did show some positive play going forward for once and the level of effort was definitely improved. And of course they scored a goal on the road from that very same effort.
As his on the job audition continues it will be interesting to see if Dasovic can leverage the (credit due here) Preki’s defensive improvements that the club has definitely had this season and combine them with a more positive approach going forward that addresses the lack of goal scoring. A 1-1 draw Saturday looks like it is in the cards for TFC in this game. So the drama continues. We have seen some bad soccer this season. But it certainly has not been boring.