Monday, April 21, 2008

Toronto FC 1-0 Real Salt Lake

To steal from Sven Goran Eriksson: First half good, second half not so good.

On a perfect sunny afternoon, the rowdy fans at BMO Field probably wouldn't have cared that much about the final score. But a victory for Toronto -- bringing their record up to two wins and two losses this season -- just made it even better.

Toronto already look better than they did last season, because they're actually trying to play -- passing the ball around neatly, keeping possession -- rather than just hoofing it up to Danny Dichio. (Dichio, by the way, still has the turning radius of your average oil tanker.) They were creating a lot of good chances on goal, and got a break after half an hour when Laurent Robert scored from a free kick. It was just outside the box, which is a tough position to get the ball up over the wall and back down, so Robert's solution was to put it under the wall as they jumped instead. The keeper had no chance, and between that goal and his otherwise excellent play, Robert is off to a good start in Toronto.

I didn't see a whole lot from Amado Guevara, the other big name that TFC have brought in recently, but he did win the free kick from which Robert scored. (Also, it's possible that I kept forgetting which one he was. I blame the beer.) The other player I noticed was winger Rohan Ricketts, making his debut for the team: He's got lots of pace, and he's certainly not afraid to take on defenders and beat his man, but he desperately needs to work on his final ball into the box. Too often he was selfish and tried to do it all himself, or his crosses were just weak. But he's young, and that'll improve as he gets more experience. (Remember what Cristiano Ronaldo was like when he first joined Manchester United? Sort of like that, except the MLS version.)

Anyway, it's nice to see players who want the ball and will try to do something with it. I just wish there'd been more of that in the second half. Instead, Toronto dropped too deep, trying to protect their lead -- which is always dangerous when you're only up by one goal. I still don't think their back line is as strong as it could be, and they looked much better organized when they were keeping the play in Real's half, but they did manage to keep a clean sheet after all.

Next up: Another home game this Saturday, against the Kansas City Wizards. And a chance to get above .500 for the first time in their history.

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