21 April 2010

Just Get It Over With

The loss to Toronto, quite painful. I can tell, because rewinding the game for another look feels like actual work, which means this recap has been procrastinated out of any real relevance. A much tougher pill to swallow than the game lost to Seattle; despite being reduced to ten men in the first half again, the Union dominated long stretches of the match, and to any neutral were clearly the stronger team. For all Danny Califf's big words about his team's toughness and aspirations to infamy, he has whipped himself and at least one of his potential partners into a crimson frenzy, while in the process ruling himself out of the massive derby against the Red Bulls immediately following.

Trust me, if this were hockey, I'd be screaming the praises of his antics. Unfortunately for him, it's not! This crazy game has rules which govern personal conduct on the field of play. And no disrespect either, as it's a difficult concept to comprehend for any American. But the most recent dismissal has to smarten these aggressive players up quick, or the skilled players working that much harder in their absence will just be further exposed to injuries over the course of a seven month season.

And off the bus.

Dwayne De Rosario looks like an extra from Bad Boys 2. And not in a good way.

Contrasted with Danny Califf, who actually already looks guilty for his forthcoming red card.

BMO Field is a beautiful facility, can't really hate on that. The skyline backgrounded the corners and wide-shots all night to impressive effect. “That's where the Leafs play!” made me laugh all night.

“Win You Must” and Yoda banners from the raucous Toronto faithful. Quite nerdy, but epic. If only by shear geography, this a worthy international stage. Toronto are under a ton of pressure locally, failing to reach the postseason in their first three seasons.


Toronto FC (4-5-1): Frei, Hscanovics, Cann, Attakora, Usanov, Sanyang, Saric, Labrocca, De Guzman, Gargan, De Rosario

Philadelphia Union (4-4-2): Seitz, Harvey, Orozco, Califf, Arrieta, Torres, Jacobson, Miglioranzi, Fred, Moreno, Le Toux

Nowak still not on the field.


1' Harvey, to Seitz, back to Harvey. If those two ever passed to each other like that in training, I'd send them on laps.

2' De Rosario pressures Seitz into booting it out of play. The rest of the league got the memo on Seitz' erratic tendencies.

3' Le Toux did have an open header from 25 yards. He has to try to more with that. Frei was in no man's land but allowed safe passage back.

3' Califf knows he's past the ball, so he slashes down Labrocca but doesn't draw a foul. Just trying to get Danny's name in before he's sent off.

4' Seitz stumbles on the fresh grass turf while handling a long, long ball. Alarm bells are ringing.

6' Stiff tackle, quickly to ground by Califf on De Rosario. He got low. Wish he would have had another 60 minutes on the field to do that.

10' Corner for Toronto...

10' Leading to a great ball from Fred for Le Toux, who eventually dribbles the ball away and wasting a great break. Union keeping the ball and nicely linking up together, but not threatening the goal with purpose or accuracy.

15' Again, Union gelling in midfield, but Arrieta's cross is too strong and aimless.

16' Hscanovics' potentially gruesome challenge on Arrieta's standing leg only punished by a yellow card. There wouldn't have been much to complain about a red card there. Late and very pointy. I'd have some questions about that call.

17' Arrieta's delivery is better this time, but Moreno will need another couple inches if he wants to meet that ball with his head.

19' Mention of Toronto's 16,000 season ticket holders and 17,000 more on a waiting list. Very impressive.

20' Rob Stone's nice observation of the schoolyard game going on, 12-14 players in the same 30 yards of the field, all ball watching. They spent $3m on the new field and the players are only using ten dollars' worth.

22' Saric warned for persistent fouling on Fred

24' Union stalling with the ball too long between the back four...this does not portend well for our Union...

25' Yellow for Usanov, taking on Moreno's defenseless standing leg; that could have been really ugly. He could have been cautioned again for playing the drums in Hootie and the Blowfish.

26' Miglioranzi's deflected cross goes for Union corner. Torres being TP'd by Toronto supporters like the principal's house.

29' Le Toux's effort is at least ten yards wide of the goal before drifting into the stands. Distinct lack of sharpness in the final third for both teams.

31' Arrieta with a very nice ball into the box, Le Toux is pushed over and doesn't get his head to the back post.

33' Bad things happen when our back line plays it amongst themselves. Someone needs to be coming back and taking the ball from them. This will not be an acceptable practice going forward.

34' And yes, I knew this was about to happen. RED CARD FOR Danny Califf, who lazily stands over the ball before playing it back to Seitz, and sticks out an elbow in De Guzman's face which would have earned him a red card in Nelson Mandela's prison league from the World Cup on ESPN commercials, let alone an MLS game in Canada. Califf's appearance doesn't really serve his plea of innocence, either.

Seitz does his best to make Dwayne De Rosario's nasty ass famous, fumbling the free kick he easily should have stopped. Seitz' arbitrary hand claps to no one befit a player who has so disappointed his team. That would have been tough to overcome at full strength, but to pile that burden on to an undermanned side is likely to spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r. 1-0 Bad Guys.

37' Yellow card for Miglioranzi for a sliding challenge right on the touch line...

38' And De Rosario really should have taken the ensuing chance better than that. A low cross driven to the front post is deflected harmlessly past the goalmouth.

40' Torres' cross is fantastic, but Arrieta and Orozco miss their touches, and Frei pushes it wide.

43' De Rosario tests Seitz from 50+ yards. Not a bad idea, really. He could have been distracted by all the confetti in his box.

45' Fred does what I asked someone to do earlier, which is just pick the ball off our back line and get it moving. He finds generous time and space up the middle, giving the ball to Moreno, who gives and goes with Le Toux twice, before Torres' lofted through ball over the five TFC players between he and a composed Harvey is dispatched past Frei and over the GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLline. I'm suspect of Harvey's mental capabilities at fullback, but not his tidy finishing on display here. A rare shiny moment of class in this slog of a match. 1-1.

45' Dellacamera makes note of Torres' second assist in as many games. And that's just how we roll into...


I hope Seitz' teammates give him a proper Amish shunning. He and Califf have some 'splainin' to do. I can't help but wonder if Alejandro Moreno is a more capable candidate for captain than Califf. It's early in the season, but why wait until it's too late? He's been successful in all his whistle stops around the MLS.


Subs for Toronto: Barrett, White come on for Usanov and Saric.

46' Union forced to shackle Le Toux's creativity by playing him in a much deeper position given the circumstances.

49' Le Toux's open header from point blank range is targeted right into Frei's thankful arms. Torres' sweet delivery once again fruitlessly wasted by the overworked Union attackers.

52' Toronto pressing with more conviction, which you would expect from a team on an hour long powerplay. There should be a penalty box for red carded players, no doubt about it. Maybe one day, Danny, they'll name it after you.

53' Seitz does exceptionally well to save De Guzman's shot from 22 yards. Despite some swerve and dip, the Union keeper forces the ball around the post.

54' Barrett's header at the back post from De Guzman's cross is balded wide.

56' Torres comes off for Shavar Thomas. Torres was on the business end of a physical challenge and hasn't looked so fluid since then. A cautionary defensive change for multiple reasons. Leading immediately too...

57' Thomas on the field barely a minute before picking up a yellow card, conceding a free kick at the edge of the 18 yard box. Labrocca's cross has lots of options at the back post, but no one displays the required desire. Sanyang looks like he got whacked above the eye with a mountie's baton.

60' Toronto's last change has Peterson on for the bloodied Sanyang.

62' Thomas is just oh-so-fortunate not to give up a penalty as he hauls down Brian White by the arm inside the area. Why are our defenders so dim?

65' Union absorbing Toronto possession over the last few minutes, rarely threatening or threatened.
Gargan goes down with a hamstring issue, leaving Toronto in an awkward spot, having used all three of their substitutions.

68' And he is getting a vigorous man rub on the upper thigh from the physio. This is ESPN, not LOGO, geez.

70' De Rosario's scissored effort goes wide, almost making the impossible look simple. Very impressive.

71' Le Toux's low crosses from set plays have been disappointing all night. Not quite sure what he's attempting there, but he needs to stop.

73' Jacobson off for Okugo.

75' Seitz allows the ball to lay up over the cross bar from Labrocca's deflected shot, which goes for a corner anyway.

78' Philadelphia retreating back to the keeper with their rare spell of possession. Lots of consecutive passes but ultimately turned over, allowing Toronto to win another corner. Gagan's header brings the crowd to their feet before they realize which side of the net was impacted.

80' Barrett's low shot certainly forces Seitz to work to save and hold possession. Fair to say there is a sizable dossier leaguewide on Seitz' shortcomings based on his first few starts.

80' OH FFFFFFUUUUUUUUDDDDDDGGGGEEEE. Penalty awarded against Seitz, who helps himself to a couple of slaps at White's feet, forced to make a decision not in his mental wheelhouse.

82' I HAVE MY FIRST REAL PURE HATE OF AN OPPONENT, so thanks for that, Dwayne De Rosario. I really had a hard time accepting our loss at the hands of that slimeball. He's the f*cking sixth Backstreet Boy, and he outscored us. 2-1 Bad Guys. De Rosario actually kind of looks like Scott Hall, too.

83' The Union will need a real miracle if their to get anything out of this game from this point. Arrieta's strike is off target, a bit hopeful but certainly from a favorable position.

85' Union pressing higher up the field, but unable to get any serious intention behind the efforts on goal. Toronto really milking the clock for all its worth from every whistle. Can't say I really blame them.

89' Le Toux does exceptionally well in defense, extinguishing De Rosario's through ball for Barrett and saving us a bit of pride.

90' Gargan's labored challenge gives the Union a long throw opportunity into the box. Toronto breaks on the ball, before De Rosario smacks the cross bar with a strike from an offsides position. Rarely has a forward been so thankful for an offsides flag.

90' Toronto content to play keepaway for the game's remainder.

Brainless mistakes by the defensive core again undo all the positive play made possible by the attacking players.  The manager needs to teach these players the kind of discipline they're going to need to facilitate their physicality.  Otherwise, tough tackles will just put us in tough spots, and no amount of South American or French magic is going to be enough to compensate.

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