There's no other way to say this, but Toronto gave away this series in more way than one. This is going to be the most depressing article written about a 3-2 win ever. Toronto was eliminated from the Voyagers Cup in the new BMO Field by the Montreal Impact by way of the cursed away goals rule (3-3 on aggregate, Montreal had two away goals). This was a classic way for Toronto to lose, bad defending when they needed the defending to be good. Say what you will about the reffing quality, Toronto's defenders are to blame for this loss... again...
It Takes Two Baby
Since I just slagged off Toronto's defense, it'd probably behoove me to explain why. Here are the match highlights for the game.
This is seconds before the first goal Montreal scored. It comes off a corner kick and without even knowing where the ball is, can you take a guess as to who is going to get it? If your answer was the guy who is circled, Callum Mallace, you’d be correct. Now he is not the guy who scores, but when you give someone THAT much space in the box, something bad is bound to happen. Who is supposed to be marking him exactly? Yes the ball takes a bounce off of a player, but this is way too open to be good.
Toronto’s defenders realized that this man is too open to be beneficial, and in correcting their mistake, leave Kenny Cooper wide open in front of the goal. Ball goes off of him, Chris Konopka can’t get to it, game equalized. Again, defensive awareness is needed here. Toronto does the same thing you’d see a kid’s team do. They see someone with the ball, and like 3 people forget what they were supposed to be doing and run towards the ball.
I’m going to start establishing a count of goals that come off of crosses, if this count reaches over 30 I will upload a video of me drinking hot sauce. I have to experience the suffering. Maybe it will give them a reason to practice defending long balls.
This is seconds before the cross by right back, Eric Miller. As I said before, when you give someone lots of open pasture, something bad is bound to happen. Though the pass that led to this was very good, Ashtone Morgan is way off the ball for this. He or freshly subbed Warren Creaville had to account for him, but one of them didn’t. I’d say watching the goal in real time that Morgan should have been playing Miller a bit better. All of this led to…
You may need to click to see what I’m talking about here, but Damien Perquis is doing the worst defending you could do minus just falling over. He is ball watching and lightly touching Oduro, who is a very big and strong man. Anything less than actually getting your body on him means he is going to muscle past you. He isn’t keeping him on the outside, he isn’t putting himself in a useful position, and he’s really doing nothing useful right now. In fact, if you watch the goal, Perquis doesn’t even jump to get in the way of the ball. If he had even knocked him down and drawn a penalty, it would have been less of a free goal than this.
There was no physicality done on a very physically gifted player, and there was no mental work done as to how to keep him from getting to this ball. I’m sorry to be really hard on you Perquis if you are reading this, this is miserable defending in a moment where Toronto needed to hold firm to get a result. Toronto can’t give goals like this up, this is defending I expect from a high school team.
Designated Players, Assembleeeeeeee
This was the first game of the season where all the designated players played to the level that Toronto expects them to play at. Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley all had awesome games. I would go over all three goals scored, but I’m just going to go over the one that showed how well Toronto’s designated players were playing.
This is Bradley giving the ball to Altidore. Yeah he’s like 2 centimeters away from him, but because of his offensive ability, it makes sense to give it to him. However, Altidore does what you wouldn’t expect him to do. He makes a fantastic pass to Giovinco, who you see up top.
Which leads to this. Giovinco, being the talented dribbler that he is, makes one move around Laurent Ciman and gives himself a one vs one against the keeper. He curls the ball in with a beautiful shot and Toronto’s up 3-1. The designated player Triforce was completed.
Toronto looked really strong on the attack with all the designated players in. Bradley, Giovinco and Altidore had their best individual performances of the season. It explains why, when Altidore was taken out of the game in the 80th minute, the attack looked awfully deflated. It’s interesting to note that Toronto played much better on the attack when they weren’t rushed like they were after the Oduro goal.
Good thing is that this is the exact kind of play, minus the defending errors, that Toronto would need to beat the New England Revolution this coming weekend. If Toronto can figure out how to play with a vicious attack and the back line can figure out how to defend, New England is going to be in for a horrible time.
To End This Nonsense Like Henrik Lundqvist
Toronto had some very impressive things going for them today. They got a win in their new stadium, Konopka looked great again, their designated players were fantastic and Zaveleta actually had a good game. Yet, the reoccurring problem has been the defensive mistakes, and this team isn’t going to go anywhere if they keep that up. The Designated Player Triforce needs to do whatever bonding they did before this game and do it again before they play the Revolution. Maybe it was a team Mario Kart session?