Perquis of death.
Off season champions! That somewhat overblown claim was mainly based on bringing in Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco, which seems to have worked out so far, but also partially on the optimistic idea that Toronto FC had also fixed their centre back problems by bringing in Damien Perquis. Of course very few of us had actually seen Perquis play, but hey look at that pedigree, plenty of games in France and Spain, Euro 2012 with Poland, he was bound to be good.
Let’s forget the injury possibilities and the lack of depth that have already reared their head and shown the defence isn’t fixed, and the fact that he’s undoubtedly on a large salary that thus hinders the chance of improving that depth and instead focus on Perquis’ actual play. It hasn’t really been great has it? Which is to say, it’s usually been ok, but it’s gone wrong, with serious consequences, a lot, which isn’t what you want when you’re spending this much money. The defence has generally been a mess, not entirely Perquis’ fault, but he hasn’t been the calming organising influence we might have hoped for.
This is going to be a bit unfair, the nature of highlights mean that if a defender does his job well, that play doesn’t make the highlight reel, do it particularly well and you calmly shut things down without even making a tackle. Dull stuff. Perquis definitely does some things right, and in the interests of balance, here’s something that makes the highlight reels as he puts in a great effort to get back and block a shot after a Nick Hagglund error vs Houston.
Good effort Damien.
Anyway, there’s been a lot of obvious problems, roll the tape.
We’ll start at the beginning, in Vancouver, and absolutely awful job of marking Octavio Rivero, allowing him to hilariously miss from about 4 yards out.
On to Columbus. There’s Justin Morrow’s red card, Perquis’ miscontrol forces Morrow into making the tackle, and his half arsed running back means that Morrow was definitely considered the last man back, so give an assist on that red card to Perquis. Then on Kei Kamara’s goal, I’m not entirely sure what he was thinking of doing when the cross came in, but it certainly wasn’t marking Kamara, he seemed oblivious to his presence.
He missed the next two games, so it’s on to Dallas, and lots of fun here. Dallas’ first goal, Perquis enthusiastically joins in with the high press, not a terrible decision, and he was never going to get back and help with Fabian Castillo here, but his effort to get back and help with any potential rebound or pass is pretty poor.
Can’t blame him on the 2nd goal, but then watch him casually watch and make no real effort to get back and help as Dallas almost get a 3rd. Then we get to the 3rd goal, which speaks for itself really.
Then there’s the yellow card for an elbow, followed by some extreme petulance, the experienced player having to be calmed and pulled away by Nick Hagglund. Top notch game all round really.
The Orlando game was better, nothing stands out there, so on to Philly, and just watch him once again obliviously lose his man, Fernando Aristeguieta wasting the chance
He also doesn’t bother sticking close to Cristian Maidana when he hits the bar.
On to the Houston game and there’s no blame on him for the penalty, but for the second goal he does a poor job, should he concentrate on Bruin, or help out with Barnes? How about neither. Good choice.
On to Montreal and there was a very half hearted effort from Perquis to close down Callum Mallace before the Kenny Cooper goal, followed by a good effort to chase down Dilly Duka on a breakaway at the end of the first half. Then the poopy icing on this entire turd cake, misjudging the cross and letting Dominic Oduro score the winner on a header. Fine work.
As I said, focusing on highlights is unfair, there’s obviously been moments where Perquis has done good things, and games where he’s had a positive influence on the defence. Also, can it be easy to play in this defence with it’s rotating cast of characters, in a side still trying to figure out how to play how Greg Vanney wants them to? Of course not, but with the big bucks that hurt the ability to build depth, and the resume he brought into TFC, you’d expect him to be the man who can organise, or at least lead by example and help out the fragile defence, in other words the obvious successor to Steven Caldwell in the middle of defence. Not only does that not seem to be happening, but the crucial, high profile mistakes, whether outright blunders or just poor inattentive defending just keep on happening, at a rate that would make Doneil Henry at his worst blush.
The season is of course young, defensive understanding should grow as the season progresses and the overall health of the defence improves so it’s premature to write off Perquis. However for TFC to be good, they can’t afford Perquis to continue like this. The amount invested in TFC’s big 6 (3 dp’s, Perquis, Cheyrou and Caldwell) was always a gamble that was going to require them to play a lot of games and play them well if TFC were going to do anything more than scramble home in the race for the 6th in an awful conference. So far, everyone’s favourite faithful and loyal human isn’t delivering.