The South Couch Report : Real Salt Lake v Toronto FC

I’m so excited, it seems like it’s been forever. Sure, key guys are out for various reasons, but this is the big time. This is a make or break scenario. What happens here is a clear indication of what we can expect out of these guys. Their mettle. Their character. Their desire to step up and elevate themselves.

It just sucks that it coincides with Salt Lake and Toronto at the same time.

You see, it’s Wrestlemania. It’s the biggest show of the year.

[redacted because it’s really off topic. ~Ed.]

That’s exactly why this game needs a run in by DeRo.

Anyways… our beloved Robins are still on their epic road trip and run into an RSL side that hasn’t lost a game. Yes, it is misleading as they haven’t won one either, and they only have 2 games under their belts as well. Toronto is missing most of the players you’ve seen in marketing pieces through international callups or injury. And Morrow’s suspended for the red card from two weeks ago.

In what is the smartest thing I’ve heard out of the Toronto camp, Cheyrou is the captain tonight. Part of me thinks that this will be a strong acid test to see how much we can heap onto Giovinco’s diminutive shoulders. We’ll find out shortly.

Onto the match!

6’ – On one hand, I’m used to seeing the red team feel out the opposition. On the other hand, I anticipate that red team to be Toronto. Confident and aggressive so far. Me likes.

9’ – Very solid ladder match. Daniel Bryan just won the Intercontinental Title by, a bit absurdly, winning a battle of head butts atop of a ladder. No concussions there!

20’ – YELLOW – Moore hacks some poor bugger down. He didn’t even try to dispute it.

28’ – Morgan’s hustle wins another corner. Whipped into the box and after a few fumbles, Cheyrou has a go from 25 yards out. Missed, but it was nice to see someone taking a chance.

34’ – Randy Orton goes over Seth Rollins. It was meh.

42’ – GOAL – Big cross finds Mulholland at the back post unmarked and he pops it in. Pretty ball too.

Half-time Mood : Entertaining. Toronto isn’t anemic missing Bradley and Altidore so that’s a plus. Also, good ladder match.

51’ – OK, so 1997 just happened. Sting is fighting HHH and NWO just showed up. It was tough to tear my eyes away from it but it looked like good TV.

60’ – YELLOW – Warner hacked someone down in a very late tackle.

64’ – There we go Giovinco! Again! Quality shot taken, got close.

67’ – SUB – Creavalle off for Jackson

Quote Tweet of the Game :

68’ – YELLOW – Simonin booked for a bit of a takedown

70’ – Hagglund gets on the end of a corner and does a great job getting his foot to it, but stopped by the RSL keeper on the line.

72’ – Hagglund is completely playing the “Henry” role as he gets into the box and fires a header from a corner into the net, but the ref deemed it to be a foul immediately. Not sure why #thatsSoHilario

74’ – Giovinco free kick launches a looping ball that nearly caught the keeper off guard. Fantastic stuff. Close, but need to be closer.

77’ – SUB – Morgan off for Lovitz

79’ – SUB – Dike debuts coming in for Moore

82’ – Apparently Randy “Macho Man” Savage was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Glad he had that airport in Columbus named after him before he passed away

87’ – The defence gets caught on a counter attack but the resulting attack finds the ball low in Bendik’s hands.

88’ – GOAL Jackson gives a nearly brutal 1-2 with Dike, Dike controls it enough to deliver it back and he slips it very nicely under the goalie

89’ – GOAL – sonovabitch… Sandoval fights off a pile of defenders, lays it off for a cross to come flying in and find an unmarked Allen’s head who beats Bendik.

4 minutes of extra time

90+3’ – 12th corner comes in and gets headed out. Yeah, twelve corners.

90+4’ – Dike really should’ve come on earlier. He’s just been a bully to Olave since he stepped on the pitch


Man of the Match : Nobody was spotlight outstanding, but I’ll go with Bendik. Awwww screw it, it’s Jackson!

Goat of the Game : Nobody stood out as being overly terrible either. Osorio seemed invisible, the two yellow cards were really bad, Morgan didn’t see Mulholland get behind him for the first goal.

Ref Rating : 2 out of 5. Just because you blew the whistle immediately, doesn’t mean you got the call right.

I’m Not The Gaffer But… : I think he did very well with the hand he was dealt. Hindsight the substitutions could’ve been made earlier I suppose.

In Case You PVR’d It : Watch it all. Wasn’t a bad game. Plenty of positive play from Toronto.

Am I crazy to think that because there was no “undisputed leadership captain” stuff going on at the back, that the side had to step up en masse and play for one another? Not suggesting that they should play without our DPs more often, but the team seemed a little less inhibited in moving the ball around and trying things. The difficult gauge in this is how much of this was Real Salt Lake being largely dormant. When they succeeded, their successes were nice combinations of motion that resulted in attacking the penalty area, earning an alarming amount of corners and it wasn’t just Giovinco or just Findley. I felt it was fair that they had earned a point, but it was not to be. This side looked like fun from the opening salvo. Well done.

Hagglund didn’t look too bad. Even as a bit of offence from the back, he was confident getting up and making his opportunities count… I know they were playing up to the crowd, but that Rock/Rousey v McMahon/HHH segment went on about 2 minutes too long… The back four weren’t that bad in replacing 75% of the starters. Felt that RSL, ultimately, weren’t that potent so this was an easier assignment than most of the other teams they could’ve faced. If this had been Columbus, that scoreline could’ve been uglier… I’m all for nostalgia, but why is the Undertaker wrestling at Wrestlemania still a big deal? Working one match a year is a pretty sweet gig if you can get it… Toronto’s next opponent just got their first taste of a win as Chicago took down Philadelphia 1-0.

Player Ratings : Bendik 6.5, Hagglund 6, Morgan 6 [Lovitz N/A], Creavalle 5.5 [Jackson 7], Simonin 6, Osorio 6, Warner 5.5, Cheyrou 6.5, Giovinco 6.5, Findley 6, Moore 6 [Dike 6]

Author: Mark Hinkley

Mark is a full-time graphic designer, full-time smart ass and full-time logo, stadium and kit nerd. When he isn't writing ridiculous match reports or redesigning logos for his own amusement, he's salivating over the day that promotion and relegation occurs in MLS. You can follow him @kitnerdmark on the twitterz.

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  1. Foul call on hagglund seemed very harsh, but apparently the ref had been telling hagglund all game about the holding and regular grappling that goes on at every corner, warning him that he’d blow for a foul if he did it again, and hagglund did it again and so he blew the whistle. rather unfortunate that the time he chose to follow through on his threats was also the time that hagglund scored, but he definitely made the decision before the ball went in.

    Looking at it as a one off, then there’s nothing there at all, the regular jostling that always happens, nothing more. if you look at it as a ‘lifetime achievement’ kind of foul, it seems more reasonable, like a booking for a nothing foul that really is all about persistent fouling, on it’s own, would be ridiculously harsh booking, all put together it seems worth it. Like it or not, every single moment in a game doesn’t happen in a vacuum and get treated strictly on it’s own merits. so I’ll accept the foul call. sucks that he ended up scoring on the play though.

    aside from that, not a bad game in the circumstances. the last half of the first half once RSL got going was certainly a rough one, but the 2nd half we looked much better, taking it to them, controlling play without giving up easy counter attacks. I’d put that with the vancouver 2nd half as another impressive one. 2 out of 6 isn’t ideal, but should recognise the baby steps when they happen.

    defensively speaking, the goals were a worry, and very similar to what we saw in columbus, defence and midfielders get drawn out wide in one direction, cross comes in and what defence is left in the middle gets outnumbered and the late runner can knock in the cross. got to figure out how to stop that, and I’d say the responsibility is with the midfielders helping out. defensive mids should be doing more to protect the box, and if the full backs are going to be charged with contributing to the attack as much as they are, only fair for the midfielders to come help them out in defence. Jackson didn’t look great on the winning goal, but much like creavalle in columbus, he didn’t get much help, where was Osorio?

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    • It’s a tragedy, but if it was the culmination of warnings, then I guess it’s somewhat acceptable. I’d like to think I’d be the kind of ref that would take each situation independent of one another, but I’m not a ref so… still sucks.

      I don’t know if I heard Osorio’s name much all game. Maybe he contributes by pulling defenders out. Not much notoriety by commentators for such tactics, but he must provide some value. Not hating on the guy as I know he can be valuable and he can change games. Just want to see what anyone else is seeing.

      Still going with Jackson as man of the match. Gives me a reason to say his name like an action hero theme song… Jackson!

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      • I think the accumulated small things eventually leading to a big thing is definitely a part of refereeing though, you don’t want to be the hard ass that calls every tiny little thing and kills the flow of the game, but if people take advantage of that nature then you have to step up at some point and call them on it. If the ball hadn’t gone in after the fact, no-one would have really complained too much.

        Osorio? yeah, don’t really remember him doing much noteworthy at all.

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        • Did Referee Grajeda card the awful lot of rolling around the RSL players were fond of…just asking. So the choice to enforce and not enforce the rules can be determined as to when it has the maximum effect. The incident in the game for me was when Morales closed the down the last free kick of the game to 7 yards. Referee Grajeda trotted down the pitch and just stood there and refused do enforce the law of the game despite Vanney’s pleading. So I guess a referee has a lot of latitude as to when to enforce the rules and when they don’t want to. Sure looked like Grajeda was sending a message there. And at the end of the day, politics is much better to watch than sports…not.

          BTW who was holding who on the controversial play?

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          • everyone was holding everyone really. as for the ‘maximum effect’ bit of what you said, he didn’t wait for the goal to be scored then decide to disallow it, he was blowing that whistle as soon as it became clear that hagglund’s jostling had helped him win the header.
            and yes, ref’s have latitude to call it how they want, when to enforce or not, that happens all the time, different refs call things differently, all you can really hope for is consistency within the one game. I think you’ll often see refs who want to let things go and not call every tiny little infraction they technically could. the smart players will then figure out how far they can push that without taking advantage and forcing him to actually call a foul or hand out a card, whatever it might be.
            According to the ref, hagglund was warned that he was approaching that line and kept going and forced the refs hand. was anyone else warned? were the defenders warned? we don’t know.

            Perhaps TFC winning all the corners in this one ended up hurting them on this, the benefit of the doubt always goes to defenders, you’ll very rarely see a foul called against the defender doing the exact same stuff, so if the ref’s looking for the attackers doing this, and time after time seeing that being toronto, as opposed to alternating between the two, might have exaggerated just how bad tfc, and hagglund in particular, were and made him more likely to make the call.

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