TFC -V- LA Galaxy : Surreal from Villareal
TFC came from a goal behind, and with strikes from Earnshaw and Osorio looked to be heading for a second straight home victory before Jose Villareal scored a spectacular goal deep into second half stoppage time to salvage a point for the reigning league champions.
For the TFC faithful this felt like a punch to the gut, but perhaps it is a measure of the progress we have made since the dark days of last season that a draw against the Galaxy leaves a bad taste in the mouth? or maybe it was the realisation that the self-destructing TFC was making a re-appearance? discuss …..
Anyhow, lets rewind a bit and start with Pizza … Nicks Pizza to be precise, where there is no Nick and no Pizza, but there are sub $4 beers in plentiful supply before a game.
The crowd in the bar were pretty optimistic. We picked up our snazzy new U-Sector scarves which drew praise all round (well done to all involved in producing and distributing these) and the talk, despite what on paper looks like a bad start to the season of 2 losses and a single win were the positives. The losses were both away to teams that everyone figures will be in the playoff hunt this year, the win was against one of last year’s good sides, and today’s opponents would be missing Messrs Beckham (now at PSG),
Donovan (just returning from a personal sabbatical), and Keane (injured). Add to this that the sun was shining and we were back at BMO and it was smiles all round.
The optimism was drained a little just 15 minutes into the game when Mike Magee scored his league leading 5th goal of the season, but Robbie Earnshaw scored his 4th in as many games to cancel that out in the 29th minute after a mistake in the LA defence that he leaped on just as he had done against KC.
Rookie Jonathan Osorio was introduced in the 64th minute for Terry Dunfield and when Luis Silva came on for Hogan Ephraim in 72 mins, it took just another 6 mins for them to combine and allow 20 year old Osorio to score his first MLS goal. Could the rookie grab us a precious 3 points? Sadly, the answer was no, and it was another rookie, this time 19 year old
Jose Villareal who would tie it up with a spectacular bicycle kick 2 minutes into stoppage time. A fair result? possibly! a gut wrencher? definitely!
After the game, it was both interesting and irksome to note that some people were once again turning the ‘hate’ (as opposed to heat) up on Terry Dunfield ! Slotting players we dont have, or havent proved themselves, into his position and calling it an upgrade.
I get it, Terry is no superstar, and aside from his winner against Vancouver last year, he is unlikely to change the course of a game on a regular basis, but what he does bring to the team, to our team, is 100% honest effort and hard graft to a position where every mistake is amplified and every good play is largely ignored.
Sure, we need a creative midfielder, but we also need a grafter who is prepared to clean up the crap and work in that unsung hero role for little or no acknowledgement. Terry is that guy !
I guess I am “old school” and it probably comes from watching Scottish Football for so long, but this is a guy who leaves everything on the field in every game he plays and I cannot criticise him for that. There was a fair bit of trash talking from internet trolls about him last week so I made a point of watching him more closely in this game. He worked his b******s off and put in a lot of timely tackles, his completion rate must also have been decent too.
I dont have access to the Opta stats that track every action a player makes on the field, but using the “Castrol Index” published on the MLS website, and which is globally known as a performance marker, you will find Terry sitting 4th in the TFC list after Earnshaw, Califf and O’Dea in terms of performance.
Last week he was second behind Earnshaw ! So please, will the haters just give the guy a break !!!
On to the stats ….. lets start with referee Hilario Grajeda. We have now been reffed by him 8 times in MLS and have secured only a single victory in that time, which was last year in New England where we squeaked a narrow 0-1 result. At home it has been 2 draws and a defeat, away from home, it was that 1 victory and 4 defeats. In 3 home games he has issued 3 yellows to TFC and no reds, and 4 yellows and no reds to the opposition. Away from BMO its a different story … 15 yellows in 5 games for TFC plus a red and just 6 yellows for the opposition. The red came last year in a 2-1 loss away to Montreal where he issued yellows to Ecks, Harden and DeGuzman and a straight red to Emory.
Player Stats – The standout stat from this game of course was Jonathan Osorio’s first MLS goal and you gotta like this kid. In an interview on MLSSoccer.com he talked about motivation and said this “I know what it is to be a Torontonian, and I know that the people here have so much heart. They back the team no matter what, so to work for them is really easy. I don’t need anything to motivate me. They motivate me enough.“
Other than that, no-one hit any milestones this week. Ecks played his 80th game for the club (60th MLS appearance) and is now just 4 behind Carl Robinson who is 4th overall for games played for TFC.
Stefan Frei is stuck on 96 appearances (81 MLS) as Bendik keeps him out of the side … Ashtone Morgan is 3 away from hitting the 50 mark in MLS (68 apps overall).
So it is onwards and hopefully upwards as we face Dallas at BMO next weekend but this will be another tough one. Dallas have played 5 and have won 4. Three of those wins have been at home (Colorado, Houston, Salt Lake) and although they went down 3-1 to Chivas in week two, they did win on the road this past weekend with a 0-1 result in New England courtesy of a Blas Perez goal 3 minutes from time. Kenny Cooper and David Ferreira could be the key players to watch, but of course TFC will also have to think about Eric Hassli who has so far logged just 36 minutes for Dallas in 3 games, with no shots on goal, so may be ready for one of his trademark wonder goals …
Gallery from LA Galaxy game: HERE