So I caught the Toronto-Houston match last night (you know, Toronto... the team that's now 1 [er, two, see comments] points ahead of DC in the East standings), and in an attempt to provide some information ahead of Saturday's games, a few thoughts:
- Workrate: Toronto's players run all over the field. It's very impressive. While Mo Johnston may have been catching some flack for not scoring goals, it is clear that it wasn't lack of effort. Every single player was willing to throw themselves into a play. And, overall, they're a pretty fast team. That being said...
- Organization: The defense, despite the clean sheet, is not particularly well organized. There are seams that can be exploited with well played balls, and their hectic play sometimes puts several players out of position. Strangely, the criticism of United that they try to always go down the middle may play to their advantage, since playing the ball wide for Houston allowed time for more players to get behind the ball and throw themselves in front of shots. If United counters quickly to the goal, even down the middle, they may have better results.
- Distance: Toronto was able to work some decent possession, and isn't afraid to take some good long shots (Marvell Wynne has a particularly nasty looking shot that Onstad just got a hand to in about the 57th minute yesterday). I expect Perkins will be tested by some of these shots, and his ability to get to them may well have a large impact on the game.
- Support: First, everything you've heard about the intensity of fervor of Toronto's fans is true. That being said, another phrase used to describe the fans, saying they're "savvy" or "educated" is probably a bit overblown. They're enthusiastic, but sometimes quite optimistically so. Anything that moved the ball towards the goal was cheered on, even if it was neatly taken by the Houston defense and played back to Onstad. These were passes that United fans would have cursed at Gomez if they had seem him play them. Strangely, given how nervous our backline can be at times, it makes me a little more worried, as they could feel pressured into a mistake when the crowd roars despite their being little apparent danger.
- Esky: You know Esky wants one in this game, if he can start. Fortunately, I hope that means he overpushes himself the way he used to against Reis. And yes, we still love him.
Labels: Toronto FC