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Morning After Analysis: Toronto FC lose home opener to Houston Dynamo

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Jake Payne takes a look back at what went wrong for Toronto FC in their disappointing 2-1 home opener loss to the Houston Dynamo

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Freshly renovated BMO Field had that new car smell still on Sunday, but it was spoiled by the Houston Dynamo who ate in the car, even though you told them repeatedly not to. The 2-1 loss wasn’t atrocious, but it fed more into the disappointment that has been surrounding this team so far this season. They squandered an opportunity to win in front of their home fans after a very long road trip, and unfortunately, it looked like Toronto went back to their old ways.


Goals are wherever I'm with you

Michael Bradley's rather foolish challenge in the box on Demarcus Beasley gave Houston a penalty shot in the 44th minute. This might be a stretch, but I believe this goal was preventable.

This shot gets saved by Chris Konopka, who had a very awesome performance. The closest person on Toronto to him now is habitual "Oopsie" sayer, Nick Hagglund. When you watch the goal, he kind of jogs over to Beasley, who catches his rebound and puts it in the net. I think that if Hagglund had approached this with more urgency, he could have at least put a foot in the way or something. I might be being harsh, but judging by how close Hagglund was after jogging, I really think that he could have gotten there had he had more urgency.

This next picture is seconds before the second goal scored by Will Bruin.

We got to this situation by an incredible Giles Barnes counterattack run. Bradley, who is behind him, couldn't keep up with his pace which opens up a few problems. Hagglund is now trying to also catch Barnes, while Damien Perquis is watching the ball rather intensely... too intensely. Barnes has not many people in front of him to fence off all that open pasture, which is a huge problem, but as you will see Prequis' up in the air marking makes things result in the second goal.

What’s confusing about this goal is that the ball is passed in front of Perquis and the angle he takes to chase the ball is weird. He takes a head on approach to the ball to try to straight up chase it down, but he also increases his pace as if he knew it was going for Bruin. I’m going to say he watched Barnes eyes or something since it didn’t seem like a surprise to him when he made the turn. It’s really easy to blame the last man on this, but I think this was just a straight up matter of Toronto being too slow physically and mentally. Before this, Hagglund is tracking back and Barnes cuts in. Giving up the inside is very deadly, and I think him getting turned around by the Barnes cut made all this very possible.

In general it seemed like the back line was not at all prepared for this counter, which is a horrible thing to be unprepared for, but that shows the genius of Barnes to take advantage of the situation. Toronto has to do better against teams with speed, they regularly get killed by teams and players who are fast.

That's So Jozy

The lone Toronto goal came late as Toronto moved down towards the goal in the 78th minute.

The young man with the ball is substitute Johnathan Osorio who made some moves to get open and is about to lay the ball in.

I think what messed Houston up on this was they thought he was going to take a shot. He was cutting in and out before the previous picture like he was trying to get space for a shot. I don’t think anyone knew where the ball was going to go, which explains all the bewildered faces looking up at the ball, particularly David Horst who is supposed to be marking a very wide open Altidore right now. Altidore does great on the header, slams it in. This was some excellent awareness and trickery by Osorio to confuse the Houston defenders, it shows what Toronto can do when the wingers are dangerous and there’s people in the box.

Taking Gretzky's Advice Way Too Literally

22 shots. Four on target. It’s fair to say that Deric wasn’t exactly tested on Sunday. I think the lesson for this is that Toronto should be shooting smarter. Eight of their 22 shots were blocked, which shows that Toronto at times were shooting just to shoot., especially when you look at where they were shooting them from. There’s a lot of outside the box shots that were blocked, which means Toronto was shooting some desperation shots, maybe hoping for a lucky deflection or a defensive mistake. Toronto needs to attack smarter, like they did for the goal they scored, because a blocked shot or a missed shot only results in more possession for the opposition. They should refine their attack to take smarter shots, not more shots.

The Good, The Bad, The Snuggly

Good: Chris Konopka put in one of the best goalkeeping efforts all season. He stood very firm in the face of the speedy Houston attack, headed by Giles Barnes who torched Toronto all day. He made some fantastic saves and he even made a save off a penalty kick, which isn't the easiest thing to do in the world. It'll be interesting what this will do for Bendik, but I really don't see this becoming some kind of goalie controversy, which I'm sure Leafs fans won't want to follow them into the MLS.

Bad: Bradley did not have the best of days, I'm starting to think he's exhausted from the World Cup or something because he's been pretty subpar this season. Giles Barnes took full advantage of him this game and he made some errant decisions, which is harsh for a man who quite frankly hasn't had a game that lives up to his potential yet. I don't know when Bradley is going to come out of his whatever he's in right now, but it would greatly help this team especially when Giovinco has his offdays like he did in this game.

Snuggly: You all should get that warm, snuggly feeling because despite how disappointing Toronto has been, they are still in 5th. It seems like the proverbial thorn in the side will be the Chicago Fire, but every other team is REALLY in limbo. Orlando can't win at home. New York FC is having an identity crisis. Philadelphia has 21 goals allowed so far and Montreal can't score.

Having your problem be "our designated players are inconsistent" is the first-world problems of the Eastern Conference right now. Toronto has its problems, and they need to be addressed, but this conference is really looking to give Toronto some time to figure things out. If Toronto was in the West, things would be miserable because 9 points in that place puts you in dead last.

To End This Like A Corey Perry Goal In Overtime

Toronto's got another match against Montreal in the Vouygers Cup during the league and then they play Eastern Conference leaders New England Revolution. It'll be a good measuring stick/kick in the butt for Toronto FC.

Sidenote: Thanks for reading all this guys. It's been a real blast so far and I hope you enjoy this series.