The South Couch Report: Toronto vs New England

New England Revolution as the Tea Men

The Part I Write Before The Match :

So then, given how well our mighty Effs and Cees have been playing recently, and the amount of players missing, that Montreal game can be written off as just a blip right?  #ShitHappens, even the best of teams in any sport occasionally has a night where things go wrong. Better now than in December, and hey, maybe this is the sort of wake up call that stops them from getting too cocky, refocuses their collective minds on what they have to do to keep on winning.  It might not be tonight, foxy Foxborough is never really a friendly place to Toronto, and despite being awful enough away from home for management to finally pay attention and toss Jay on to the scrapHeaps, the tea terrorists have been very good at home this year, but eventually TFC will right the ship, seal the most points ever record and get all their good momentum back in time for the playoffs, ready to crush all in their path.

OR.

Or, or or.  Let’s face it, this last couple of months or so has been pretty ridiculous, especially that 6 game win streak where they averaged 3.5 goals per game. Was it all just about luck and confidence? Giovinco was scoring from free kicks at a rate that’s impossible to keep up, Nicolas Hasler scored two headed goals after apparently not scoring even one of them with his head in his career before that. There was the comedy own goal from DC, San Jose’s goalie dropping the ball at Vazquez’ feet, and whatever the fuck LA were doing defensively. Plenty of things were going TFC’s way, and that sort of thing combined with their burgeoning confidence, and of course the undoubted talent this team has, just kept the whole thing spiralling on, it was a crazy fun ride. Perhaps that stupidly unlucky first goal, Zavaleta’s mistake, poor decision and then Bono’s clearance bouncing off Piatti in just the right direction will be the moment we eventually look back on where it all went wrong, and we never quite get it back.

I still think no matter what, as long as the injury situation clears up, TFC are the best team in the league, will get beyond the 68 points record, and are probably favourites to win MLS Cup, but can they get their swagger back and become the team that looked pretty unbeatable, that convinced even the bitterest cynics to get on board the ‘best mls team ever’ hype?  This is a tough test at the best of times, a positive result here would go a long way to ease my concerns in that department.

Anyway, the good news is the Hartford Pizza Rats could only tie Houston, so a win here would clinch the supporters shield. History awaits.

Here’s the lineup.

Fair enough not bringing Seba and Jozy along, this pitch wouldn’t be kind to tight quads  and tweaked hammies, but hmmm, that’s a very interesting defence. If Zavaleta’s not injured, that’s  a strange decision, yes he was a hot mess on Wednesday night but he’s been very solid all year, doesn’t deserve to be dropped at all. Hopefully just being rested, Bono too.  Vazquez is back, and looks to be in the same ‘false nine’ kind of position he played in LA, so that’s good.

Bold Predictions

  1. Vazquez scores.
  2. So does Kei Kamara
  3. Raheem Edwards gets at least one assist.

 

On to the match

1′ – TSN were late, but UGH, just look at that pitch.

10′ – Not much really happening, but a decent enough start from TFC so far, but good god those pitch markings!!! Is this more embarrassing to the league than the pizza rats having to play in Hartford?

15′ – NE pressing more now, and get a bit of a chance as the ball’s played across the ball to Fagundez who hilariously swings and completely misses.

20′ – Morrow hesitates on the ball and Kei Kamara nips in and knocks him over and steals the ball, and runs into the box. His shot is well wide, and Fagundez was just unable to knock it in. Lucky escape after another Montreal-esque shitshow moment.

23′ – Fun backheel from Vazquez, gorgeous pass from Osorio out to Hasler on the wing, cross comes in to Ricketts, who eventually gets it under control and scores, but is flagged for offside. Correctly, but still, that’s a shame cos that was lovely, especially from Osorio.

33′ – Lovely ball form Edwards to Delgado out on the edge of the box, tries to backheel it to Vazquez in the middle but some dumb revs defender gets in the way.

35′ – Another giveaway, still pretty fucking sloppy in defence, Bunbury gets a decent shot off but Irwin’s there to stop it with his leg, then collect the ambitious long shot follow up.

43′ – Revs get a free kick, central, about 30 yards out, Fagundez Giovincoes it right into the wall.  Touching tribute really.

Halftime mood:  Better than Wednesday, though still alarmingly sloppy at the back at times. This could still go either way.

48′ – Edwards wins a free kick, edge of box, but out by the corner, Vazquez goes for it, gets it over the wall and under the bar, but Cropper tips it over.

52′ – Not much happening, but some kids near a microphone are enjoying joining in with the ‘rev-oh-loo-shun’ chant. Annoying wee fucks.

54′ – Fagundez almost in, but being pushed out to the left, clearly doesn’t trust his left foot so instead tries some weird trick shot rabona shite with his right foot, it doesn’t come out to anything.

Yellow Card – 60′ – Vazquez for dissent apparently.

63′ – Fagundez through down the right side, Irwin comes out and blocks the shot. Revs looking more likely to score than anyone right now.

Sub 64′ – Bunbury out, Nguyen in. Ruh-roh! Nguyen’s hair remains terrible, a comforting familiarity.

Sub 66′ – Kouassi in, Caldwell out.

Sub 68′ – Hamilton in for Osorio. Yay Jordan Hamilton. Decent effort from Osorio, had some good moments.

68′ TFC almost get a chance as Edwards knocks a long cross back into the box. Kind of comes to Ricketts, but he never really gets it under control.

73′ – Nice bit of passing from TFC gets the ball to Hasler on edge of box. puts a cross in, Ricketts is ready to bicycle kick it, but it’s sadly headed away before it gets to him.

Sub 76′ – Chapman and Cooper in, Ricketts and Vazquez out.  I’m not against Cooper coming in here, we’re not seeing the usual slick passing stuff that he slows down, so relying more on an individual moment of talent, which he’s capable of. Anyway, Yay Jay Chapman, though the players coming out suggest Vanney’s not exactly going for it here.

Goal 82′ – Lee Nguyen, gets a weak shot off towards the far post, gets a bit of a deflection off Drew Moor and that’s enough to take it past Irwin at his near post. Tea Terrorists 1-0 Toronto

Goal 84′  – Bradley with a cross over to the right, where Nicolas Hasler sneaks in unmarked and hits it first time, across the goal and into the far post. Lovely. Tea Terrorists 1-1 Toronto.

Goal 87′ – what the fuck. ok all of a sudden we’re awake I guess. Kei Kamara climbing high and getting a header off after a short corner. Tea Terrorists 2-1 Toronto

Full Time: New England 2-1 Toronto

Well that’s a disappointment. All in all though it’s not outrageous. It looked like, absent some of their best weapons, this wasn’t a TFC team going out there to try and crush them as we’ve seen recently, but instead a bit of a back to basics reset, play a decent defensive game, try and keep possession to control the game. And it almost worked, there was a few sloppy bits of defence but it was generally going very well until the last few minutes or so.  And het, New England at home are a good team, so again, not an outrageous result. I’m not panicking.  Though the fact that it all fell apart again after Vazquez was subbed off, I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Dude’s important.  Anyway, TFC’ll be fine, let’s see what happens when everyone’s back.

Man of the Match : I’m going to go with Vazquez, looked good out there, team looked worse without him.

Goat of the Game : I feel like Justin Morrow kept giving the ball away in dangerous positions. Obviously out of his comfort zone, but still, not good. 

Ref Rating : 4 out of 5, didn’t notice him really. 

I Am Not The Gaffer, But… : Don’t know exactly who was injured and whose omission was a tactical decision, but definitely a strange defensive lineup put out there. Generally, meh, no reason to panic really, it was never going to just keep on working out fabulously forever, that sort of streak doesn’t last in this sort of league.

In Case You PVR’d It : Have it on in the background while you do something else, then pay attention to the last 10 minutes or so. 

Bold Predictions Results :

  1. Failed it. Bah
  2. Nailed it. Bah.
  3. Failed it. Bah.

 

Player Ratings : Irwin 6.5, Hasler 7, Beitashour 6, Moor 6, Morrow 5, Edwards 6, Delgado 6, Bradley 6.5, Osorio 7 Hamilton 6), Vazquez 7 (Cooper N/A), Ricketts 6 (Chapman N/A)

Unused Substitutions : Bono, Alseth, Endoh, Spencer

Duncan Fletcher

Author: Duncan Fletcher

Blogging journeyman formerly of Cruel Geography and Waking the Red, also briefly with Sportsnet and every now and then with the Guardian. As a supporter of Darlington, TFC, England and Canada, football's been unfair and poking fun at Duncan for decades now, so it's only fair he does the same right back at it. Follow him on twitter @duncandfletcher

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