Saturday's match against the Danish side saw TFC come away with their first win of the Preseason tournament. Once again there were some standout performances, some nervy moments, and plenty to talk about. My takeaways from the game are below, but first here is Jonathan Osorio's goal and thoughts on the game:
Michael Bradley and Benoit Cheyrou
Say what you will about other midfield duos around the league - If Bradley and Cheyrou can keep up the work they've done so far in preseason, they are the best tandem in MLS. There's not a ton of gritty tackling, no real bulldog to break up plays in the middle, but they each do their part, and this game saw both of them spraying more pinpoint passes across the field. Cheyrou had several silky touches in close control as well, and he's looking like a definite offseason win.
Damien Perquis, Steven Caldwell, Justin Morrow, and X?
Let me start by saying that Damien Perquis has been the most pleasant surprise I've ever had as a TFC supporter. I expected him to be so much less than what he is - surprisingly agile, incredibly calm on the ball, an above-average MLS passer. He and Caldwell started together in this game, and Stevie turned back the clock with a 90 minute performance that showed no signs of last season's injury woes. Morrow was predictably excellent and should start another 34+ games for TFC this year. The right back spot seems up for grabs, though. Warren Creavalle had a solid game and Nick Hagglund is also quite capable there as well. According to Kurt Larson, Greg Vanney says "two or three" starting spots are still up for grabs. Might we be seeing less of Mark Bloom this year?
Osorio played both sides of midfield and looked at home in both spots, though on the left he tends to float inside into Sebastian Giovinco's space. Creavalle surprised me at times going up the right side, and was tenacious defensively. Expect him to be in the conversation for the RB spot come March 7, though I personally prefer Bloom there. Cheyrou is a magnificent player with the ball. Perquis is much more nimble than expected, and his goal-line clearance was a nice sight.
In spite of an otherwise good game, I'm putting Joe Bendik in this category. The first 30 minutes of the game showed some poor decision making that wasn't punished, but he settled into form by half, and made a number of good saves. Jozy Altidore and Giovinco still need time to gain chemistry.
One thing Doneil Henry always brought to TFC was a good last-ditch tackle. He'd have made a terrible blunder to necessitate the tackle, but he made them often. The defense scrambled a bit in the first half, but they did so successfully.
Per Kurt Larson, Vanney says presumed starters will rest Wednesday vs. New York Red Bulls. Looking forward to that very much.
Collen Warner had a 3-second span of touches that were absolutely sublime. He then played an errant pass. Can't have it all, I guess.
Still very curious to see Clement Simonin get some minutes - several sources saying TFC think he's the steal of the draft.
Also curious to see Alex Bono get some minutes, and to see more of Marco Delgado, Jay Chapman and Bright Dike who seem like they could get minutes during Gold Cup.
RBNY is Wednesday, February 25. More contradictory thoughts after the match.