19 May 2007

First Impressions - Toronto FC 1 : 2 DC United

Was I nervous? I was nervous before the game, and the phrase "here we go again" may have drifted across my mind when Eskandarian put one by Perkins and Toronto took the lead before half-time. Before this season got underway, I had mentally placed 12 points on DC's side of the ledger when considering Toronto. Over the course of the past week, I have revised that opinion. Getting points out of Toronto is an accomplishment. Perhaps not the same as beating Houston on the road, but significant. They are not default wins. It certainly looked like United might not get anything for a bit there.

Still, United had the edge of the play, and the result was a fair reflection of the run of play. That's not to say Toronto was without fangs. They had their chances, and had the result been 2-1 Toronto I would have felt it was unfortunate, but not a miscarriage of justice. The important thing is that United manufactured chances, and did so with increasing confidence as the day went on. Skeptics will no doubt point to the third penalty in as many games, but this penalty was earned (and I believe the correct call) by United's ability to send diagonal balls through the air, a skill that was lacking early in the season. This team doesn't seem better because of weaker competition, this team is better. Compare this game to the Columbus or Kansas City games, and all sides of the equation were better.

Now that the game is over, and United has won, I can say this: I'm glad Esky got a goal. I know, he's the enemy and all that, but as long as we get the three points, I'm happy to see him give his team some success. I hope it improves his confidence for this year, and now he goes on a tear for Toronto over their next few games.

Full debrief either tomorrow or Monday, where we will talk about: The defense, including Josh Gros failing to step up to put Toronto offside; the Fred mania that will erupt, Namoff and Erpen, and why Moreno may not have had great shots in the run of play, but still earned my respect for the other things he did. The sentimental pick for Man of the Match is Moreno for tying Kreis, but I personally have someone else in mind. Feel free to sound off as well.

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At 19 May, 2007 21:44, Anonymous stillkicking said...

To hear you admit your nerves pre-game and how Toronto has become a hard place to play in such a short time makes my "north of the great lake" heart swell with pride.
I was in no position to judge the call on the penalty kick, but I still have my homer doubts. The fact that Toronto has yet to be awarded a penalty kick in our first 7 games has my paranoia on the upswing. I sit west stand and your DC flock of away supporter sat east stand. Next time ask for west stand, I really think the slope of the stand is better my side and besides you won't be staring into the setting sun. For the reserves game we are asked to sit on the east stand and the DC supporter we sat near seemed a happy, friendly bunch. Next time the hospitality will not include gift penalty kicks in the late second half, OK ?

At 19 May, 2007 23:10, Blogger tucksider said...

the penalty was deserved, but i wonder if Emilio is gaining a reputation around MLS as a pretty ridiculous flopper. he acted like he'd been shot instead of tripped, and i've seen him do this repeatedly. as a DC fan, this is a little embarrassing... but i imagine every Brazilian 5-year-old learns to dive right after he learns the stepover.

At 20 May, 2007 05:28, Anonymous Paul said...

Bryan Namoff is my MOTM. He is having an all-star season.

At 20 May, 2007 08:32, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if i didn't love United, I would really hate United. how many times in the last eleven seasons have I seen this team get bailed out by a questionable penalty in the late second half to steal 2 points? moreno even jokingly alluded to this in the postgame interview by conceding that it was his 108th goal and "about my 90th penalty." still kicking, i appreciate your restraint and good humor. not sure if i could keep my composure under similar circumstances. your team has much to be proud of and buckets of promise. don't get me wrong, i don't think toronto deserved the win any more than DC. the penalty was deserved, but it was certainly soft and every United fan should ask themselves how they would view that call if it went the other way. i guess i'm just frustrated because i tuned in expecting to see a resounding, confidence-building victory and instead got this. own-goals and grudgingly-awarded penalty kicks do not build my confidence. i continue to wonder if this team is even capable of a resounding victory.

At 20 May, 2007 11:35, Blogger Harding said...

I'm a rabid TFC fan, and I have two things to say to you United Supporters:

Good on you! I was impressed with the small army of supporters you sent up. Sitting within our fortress of hell can't be easy for a visiting side, and it was nice to see that other teams in the MLS have solid support as well.

Secondly, great blog! Very entertaining.

Keep it up, and be sure to come back for our next match.


At 20 May, 2007 23:31, Anonymous diego r. said...

I didn't get the chance to see the game yesterday, but after watching the replay here are my thoughts:

Men of the Match: Bryan Namoff, Will Chang, Dave Johnson

What I like: (a) Flexibility on formations - being able to play a 4-4-2 and a 3-5-2, and transitioning between them will be key to success this season. (b) Bryan Namoff playing right back. (c) Guy Roland-Kpene going straight to goal. (d) Troy Perkins returning in confidence and providing steady goal keeping.

What I worry about: (a) Ben Olsen on the left wing - now Benny on either wing is questionable but Ben on the left is not a recipe for success. (b) Getting results off of penalty kicks.

The penalty kick: In real time the call looks impossible to dispute. In slow motion it is much more questionable.

Gros: A lot of people are criticizing Gros, but I think he played a good game, especially considering he is playing a new position which doesn't allow him to exploit his best assets (ie: tirelessly running). DCU's number one roster priority should be finding a left back.

At 21 May, 2007 08:58, Anonymous Skippy said...

Whether the penalty was deserved or not, I don't know - I didn't tape the game. I think it was "earned," if nothing else. As in the past couple games, there was more aggression on the attack but the finishing was still lacking. Let us not forget the other goal was an own goal. Granted that one was probably "earned" as well, the free kick was well-struck, I thought. But personally, my pre-game jitters will start fading when DCU finds the back of the net on their own and not off a dead ball.
As for Fred-mania: sign me up. That man was all over the place, in a good way. I'll admit I don't know what DCU paid for him, but he certainly made it look like he was going to earn every penny.

At 21 May, 2007 10:16, Anonymous Goose said...

Fred's got a lot of skill but he needs to bulk up if he's going to succeed in MLS. He got shoved off the ball so easily.

At 21 May, 2007 10:23, Blogger Bob said...

I don't think anyone should waste any energy disparaging DC's first goal as "only" an own goal. It was an own goal by technicality only and was created by a dangerous service and if it hadn't glanced off of a TFC head, it almost certainly would have been converted by a DCU head.

Props to the TFC supporters commenting here. I have a ton of respect watching you at BMO Stadium and reading your comments here on this blog. I don't wish you any success only because you don't need my wishes - it will surely come.


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