Three thoughts from Toronto's first win

[MLS] Toronto FC put aside its problems long enough to defeat expansion Philadelphia, 2-1, in its home opener and first match on grass at BMO Field Thursday night. Goals on a free kick and a penalty kick by Dwayne De Rosario subdued the Union, which played with 10 men following a straight red card to Danny Califf in the 34th minute after he forearmed Julian de Guzman as the TFC midfielder chased a languid back pass by Califf to goalie Chris Seitz. Left back Jordan Harvey tucked away a great diagonal cross from Roger Torres to get Philly on the board just before halftime. Of the many talking points of this match here are three of the most compelling from Toronto's first win of the season:

CHRIS-TASTROPHE. For the second straight game, Union keeper Chris Seitz erred badly. After Califf’s ejection, De Rosario drove a low free kick from about 25 yards that Seitz had covered yet somehow the ball squeezed through his right glove and trickled over the goal line. He gave away a penalty kick in the 81st minute by tripping TFC’s O’Brian White; though he just managed to get a touch on the ball he also wiped out the forward with the ball still in play.

As an expansion team, the Union has more leeway with its young goalkeeper. But consistent flubs that leak goals will undermine the confidence of his teammates, and no team can afford to tolerate that for very long. The Union, despite going down to 10 men, played well enough to escape with a point.

CANN CAN DO. Defender Adrian Cann started in place of Nick Garcia and though he did get stretched a couple of times by the Union’s gifted young midfielder Roger Torres, he won a lot of balls in the air and kept up a steady stream of instructions and commands. A very disjointed TFC midfield coughed up the ball time and time again in the first half yet Cann’s solid play in the middle blunted numerous Union attempts to take advantage.

TFC heads west to play Colorado Sunday in altitude and on just two days’ rest. How well Cann and Co. can withstand the Rapids formidable attacking duo of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings will say a lot more about their prospects than a shaky win against an expansion team.

GO WITH DE GUZMAN. Sputtering midfield play gave Julian de Guzman little opportunity to direct the attack; when he dropped deeper in the second half, with De Rosario in support of substitute forwards O’Brian White and Chad Barrett, the TFC attack livened up. He and Torres brought some class and poise to a typically robust MLS match.

De Guzman usually played a holding role during his time in Europe, perhaps because he wasn’t one of his team’s most skillful players. With TFC, he is, and hit several excellent passes to the flanks that sparked promising sequences. He also got close enough to goal to strike a dipping left-footed shot on frame that a diving Seitz swatted aside for a corner. If de Guzman works the middle in tandem with a player like Nick LaBrocca or Sam Cronin, and has De Rosario and a forward or two to play with, his touch and vision can produce chances, no matter what position he's played in the past.



10 comments about "Three thoughts from Toronto's first win".
  1. Craig Schroeder, April 16, 2010 at 7:48 a.m.

    As a Union fan, I'm happy with the midfield and attacking display that we've produced over the last two games, and even with 10-men against Toronto. We've proven we can move the ball around quickly with combination play and services in the box have been excellent. We could certainly use, however, a DP that can make an immediate impact and make the offense that much more potent. That's especially necessary because our defense looks shakey. Perhaps a defensive DP - GK or center back, would be a good use of money/allocation. Without a solid back line from GK through the backs, we'll continue to drop points, which is a shame considering that the product on the rest of the field looks good.

  2. P R, April 16, 2010 at 8:39 a.m.

    Ridge, when you say "second game in a row", did you mean to say first game in a row, considering that it's already been pointed out that the ref should have called the Moreno goal back and carded the forward? An email was even sent out to all National and State Referees, Instructors, Assessors, etc, using that play as an example, saying the goal should have been called back. Although you also said that when Moreno started his lunge at Seitz, the ball had struck the ground, when a quick check of the replay shows the ball was in Seitz's hand, so perhaps you're not all that concerned with facts.

  3. I w Nowozeniuk, April 16, 2010 at 8:47 a.m.

    Califf and Seitz are two clowns who should going traveling with Barnum.

  4. Tim King, April 16, 2010 at 11:43 a.m.

    It was said after the Seattle v Union match and I'll say it again; Danny Califf is going to injure someone badly, possibly career-ending, with his thug tactic play. I'm afraid this is a matter of "when" and not "if" and MLS needs to crack down on it now. Califf should be playing hard, talented football, but when he gets beat or cannot properly play his man he loses control. Red Cards will not change his play, it only limits his time on the field. What price will be paid by another player for his aggression?

  5. B Flow, April 16, 2010 at 12:20 p.m.

    Sorry, but that was some really ugly soccer last night. Passes to nobody, bad give aways, dribbling pointlessly and into double teams, no possession, players bunched up constantly, endless supply of hopeful (hopeless) long balls. Nothing fluid, no movement. Much better in the second half from Toronto (Barrett was a nice sub), but the standard had been set awfully low.

  6. Eli Pearlman-Storch, April 16, 2010 at 12:59 p.m.

    Hey Tim. Wake your little whine fest elsewhere. Was it a red card challenge, absolutely. Did De Guzman make a meal of it. absolutely. If you want to pick on dangerous play, you can go ahead and look at Toronto's tackling. Raivis Hscanovics tackle was the definition of a red card and had the union players stud been planted would probably have shattered both his tibia and fibula. Not to mention how horrendously late.

    Califf was stupid to make that challenge and deserved his punishment, but please stop your whining.

  7. Carl Walther, April 16, 2010 at 1:01 p.m.

    Califf is a thug player, and "head case." The fact that he was chosen to be team captain says a lot about how the team intends to play.

  8. Joe Grady, April 16, 2010 at 4:45 p.m.

    Hey Rich Perry -- so what? yes, the goal should have been called back.

    But guess what? Moreno never touched Sieve...I mean Seitz and he still just dropped the ball! C'mon man, Are you Seitz dad or something? That was a MAJOR gaffe that I've never seen outside of u-9 Rec ball.

  9. Paul Cox, April 16, 2010 at 10:34 p.m.

    As a non-fan of either TFC or PU... Califf IS playing like a thug, and Nowak is encouraging thuggish play.

    The goal should NOT have been called back; the interpretation of the USSF official (and the subsequent email out and so forth) is incorrect according to the rules of the game. Once a goalie lets a ball go from his hand TO THE GROUND it's technically fair game, period.

    It's cheap for a guy to try and cherry pick the ball away in that case (and as a Sounders fan it bugs me when our Fredy Montero hassles the goalies) but it's within the rules IF the guy doesn't "interfere" with the goalie dropping it to his foot. Hits the ground, now it's open season on the ball.

    I think Seitz will improve. That's good for PU fans, because he'll have plenty of opportunities for improvement. The PU are lucky to have jumped on the Sounders' mistake of leaving LeToux unprotected.

    TFC will be solid, if for no other reason than they're going to be tough to beat at home.

  10. P R, April 17, 2010 at 9:39 p.m.

    As a person who doesn't like Philly and it's fans, if anything, one would consider me anti-Philly. But I can't stand people who don't know the rules, or who comment afterward without looking at the facts. Paul, had the ball touched the ground before Moreno lunged at the keeper, you'd have a point, but that's simply not what happened. Unlike yourself, the USSF official must have looked at the replay before commenting. The ball is still in contact with the keeper's hand when Moreno jumps at him. If this was legal, then you'd see it happen every time a keeper had the ball in his hands. How come forwards don't do it all the time, because they're all idiots?

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