Wednesday Night's preseason match against Oklahoma City Energy FC whetted our appetites for some TFC soccer - we saw some good performances and some not good. Here's my takeaways from the game.
They were all on the field at the same time to start the game, but it was clear that they're not entirely comfortable with one another out there - particularly Giovinco, who has a tendency at this point to try and do too much with the ball. Altidore and Bradley put in somewhat traditional shifts, with Bradley coming very deep to collect the ball at times (more on that later) and Altidore getting more service from the wings to his head (bad) than service to his feet up the middle (good).
Believe it or not, Ashtone Morgan had a quietly solid 35 minutes, unnecessary yellow card aside. Given how little most of us knew about Benoit Cheyrou going into the game, it was nice to see him hit a couple 30 yard pinpoint passes - even in the wind.
Jay Chapman, as Vanney pointed out in the post-match press conference, has impressed in preseason. I expect him to deputize Jonathan Osorio if the tactics stay more or less the same.
Before I overreact, let me remind all of us that this was the first action we got to see thus far this year. Not everyone is sharp, or even fit. That said: Luke Moore should not take penalties. Given that even during Gold Cup, Cheyrou and Giovinco will likely be on the field, he probably won't have to.
Warren Creavalle probably is a Central Midfielder, not a Right Back.
Collen Warner is very obviously not as good as Michael Bradley or Cheyrou. He should always play with one of them.
The 4-2-3-1 that TFC employed is an interesting one to me. In defense this looked a lot more like a 4-4-2 than anything else, which is steady, comfortable and probably a good choice. TFC managed possession very well, especially through the back. We once again saw the Ryan Nelsen era Michael Bradley or Paul Mariner era Torsten Frings. Both Cheyrou and Bradley dropped between the Center Backs at times, and dropped deep to collect possession and manage it in TFC's half. Perquis seems comfortable with the ball at his feet, and that bodes well for us. Cool heads in the back are a must.
I don't have anything particularly scathing to say about the formation after seeing it in action after just one game. It might be more realistically called a 4-4-1-1 as the outside midfielders, particularly Findley, and later Lovitz, were being asked to run the flanks with aplomb. Findley is adjusting to the spot and I believe Jackson may fill that spot when he arrives in camp.
Hot Take: Jay Chapman starts at Findley's Spot on March 7.
For the Next Game:
There are a few things I'd love to have a look at in the next game, purely from a curiosity and tactical flexibility standpoint.
- Marky Delgado at Right Back
- Daniel Lovitz with the ‘men' on the Right Flank
- Alex Bono in Goal
- Caldwell & Perquis together at the back
- A Warner/Bradley/Cheyrou/Giovinco diamond midfield. For science.
- A goal.
Next one is Feb. 21 against HB Koge. Can hardly wait.