With all the hard work that TFC have put in this year, the results are finally beginning to show. Toronto FC followed up their 3-1 victory over Bastian Schweinsteiger and the Chicago Fire last week, with another dominant performance in their 2-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo. Jozy Altidore may have had the brace in this game and will certainly grab the headlines, but he was just the tip of the iceberg in what was a total team effort.
Coach Vanney seems to have seen something he liked as this was the only time all season, where he has chosen the same starting 11. Compared to last year’s deep playoff run, players like Drew Moor and Clint Irwin are currently injured while Jonathan Osorio and Armando Cooper are coming off the bench, so there are still plenty of choices available to the coach.
“It gives us a lot of different looks, and lots of things to think about,” Vanney said in the post game conference, “and as some of the boys come back we are going to have to make some choices but these all good things to have.”
Two of those players that are making the best of this opportunity are Marky Delgado and local product Raheem Edwards. Both are at the tender age of 21 but both played significant roles in this victory. Each goal was wonderfully crafted and shows how strong the Reds are capable of playing.
Part of what made the first goal special were the final two passes. The first was the excellent cross field pass by Delgado to free up Edwards on the left wing. Edwards ran towards the edge of the box and with great vision spotted a trailing Altidore who slammed it into the back of the net. But what really made this goal stand out requires a bit of a rewind as those were only 2 of a stretch of 20 consecutive passes that led to the goal. TFC were able to control the ball and tempo and moved their opponents back and forth before finding a seam. The Dynamo elected to play 5 men in back and the Reds exploited the extra space in midfield to create this opportunity. Houston must have enjoyed the show as well because they never pressed and just seemed to let it happen. But as much as we search for those outstanding individual performances, there is more that goes into winning.
“I don’t think that the quality of our team gets enough credit,” TFC captain Michael Bradley said, “in the way that we are able to play and tactically how we are able to do things.”
How the Reds are able to do things was put on full display as that second goal was a work of art and should win goal of the week if the first goal does not. Edwards on the left wing one more time cutting it into Altidore, who then played a lovely give-and-go with Giovinco and he buried it into the back of the net. It was a thing of beauty involving both finesse and power.
This home stretch has one more crucial test this Wednesday against the league leading Orlando City SC. They are off to a 6-1 start and with a returning Kaka, they will be even more formidable. TFC don’t catch any schedule breaks after that either as they have a West coast match with last year’s champions Seattle Sounders a few days later. If that wasn’t bad enough, this is the start of a gruelling 5 game stretch in 16 days where the depth of this team will be tested.
Speaking of depth, Toronto FC II were also in action this weekend as they travelled to Kentucky to play Louisville City FC. In what is turning out to be a broken record, a good one mind you, TFC II had their 3rd straight 0-0 game. After allowing 7 goals in 2 games Toronto FC II have not allowed a goal in over 280 minutes. Normally this would be where we celebrate a great defensive performance, but truth be told, the defence was shaky allowing a number of Louisville chances. Keeper Angelo Cavalluzzo was absolutely brilliant however, stopping 11 shots. The young Reds came close to stealing the game late but Jordan Hamilton couldn’t find the appropriate touch. Overall, despite having 3 clean sheets, TFC II haven’t been able to score either. Hopefully they can get that rectified this Wednesday as they visit the Pittsburgh Riverhounds before returning home on May 13th to face Bethlehem Steel at BMO Field.
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