Eddy Viator in his earlier career
Dave did a much more thorough and detailed report that you should check out, so this is just a bunch of my random observations from what was a very good game.
That was a great performance last night by Toronto FC. Undermanned due to suspensions and injury, and facing a side that even without playing all their stars, is clearly better than them, they did what they needed to do, and got a point. That means no matter what happens in FC Dallas' game in Tauro tonight, the season stays alive and relevant until at least October 18th, which given low expectations at the start of the season, confirms this, for me at least, as a successful 2011 season. Also, just to be petty, that's 3 1/2 months longer than Vancouver's season, which is satisfying.
The decision to go with 5 at the back was vindicated as they played an almost perfect underdog game, keeping it tight at the back, riding their luck as Pumas hit the woodwork twice, and taking one of the few chances they got. Ty Harden had a very good game at the middle of that back 5, organising things well and making a few good last ditch tackles and clearances as the last man back. Youngsters Ashtone Morgan at Left Back, Doneil Henry as the second half Centre Back, and Matt Stinson and Matt Gold who both saw time at the Right Back spot, also impressed. Julian de Guzman also had a very good game considering the lack of players with him in midfield.
Peri Marosevic generally doesn't impress me that much, but again showed he can be a good secondary scoring threat, with a very well taken goal, calmly slotting it into the side netting rather than rushing the shot or just blasting it as hard as he could.
The whole team should feel really proud of themselves, even Andy Iro, yes he was at fault for the Pumas goal, and yes he almost scored an own goal, but he generally held his own against the more technically skilled Pumas forwards and put in a great effort, he looked absolutely exhausted at the final whistle.
You know who shouldn't feel proud of themselves? Setanta, a shocking performance saw the picture cut out many times and the audio gone for most of the second half. I'm glad I only watched it when I got back home, and wasn't relying on it as my main way of watching the game. Even their scrolling apology that played through most of the second half spelt 'appoloogise' wrong.
The crowd was one of the more lively ones all year despite being relatively small. There were plenty of loud Pumas fans and that, combined with a genuinely important and nerve wracking game spurred on the Toronto fans to be louder themselves. Even in the west stand where I was, there was noticeably more buzz and crowd engagament. Also, I know it's against our goalie so i shouldn't enjoy it, but the 'Putooooooo' chant whenever Kocic took a goal kick really amused me.
It was just really enjoyable to go to a game that really really mattered again, to care and worry about it, to get really sucked in, it feels like it's been a while since that happened. To get a decent result from it is just the really tasty cherry on top.
On to Dallas where we need a win, how big of a win depends on how the other TFC do tonight. Either way, that game still counts, that Pearl Jam clip is so much nicer than the Rita MacNeil clip I had lined up in case things went wrong.
Oh yeah, finally, the whole 5 at the back to keep things tight defensively, even without Frings? I told you so.