It could have been better, it could have been worse. I feel like that’s a good way to sum up yesterday’s game against the league leader, New England Revolution. The game ended in a 1-1 draw with a Bradley goal to tie things up. Only getting one point from a match can be disappointing, but for this game, I think Toronto should be happy with the result because even though they didn’t get a result score wise, they got great results out of the players.
If A Ball Is In The Air, How Do You Know It Exists
Toronto has to be the worst team in the league when it comes to defending in the penalty area. It’s almost like they are mystified by gravity. Like a baby with a shiny object, they become so distracted by this round object being airborne that they forget about the man who is not at all being defended. "Why doesn’t it just float away? How do I know it will come down?"
This is a few seconds before the Juan Agudelo header that would be the Rev’s only goal. One of Toronto’s problems is that they give people way too much space to make accurate crosses. Before this, Osorio tried to help a double team and ended up running back and forth to get back to his position. Even so, he is giving London Woodbury three lightyears of space to do whatever he wants. Get a shirt of this, "the worst thing you can do in soccer is give someone too much space". He has so many options right now for what he can do, Osorio has to do a better job of limiting that.
The cross gets played into the box. If you take notice of the top notch artistic qualities of the photo, you’ll notice that there is a question mark (that totally wasn’t drawn on Microsoft paint). This is where Justin Morrow is supposed to be. You absolutely cannot be on the outside of someone in your own box. Chris Konopka is probably saying lots of curse words in his head looking at how badly Morrow is getting beat right now.
If you watch the goal in real time, keep an eye in the box. Morrow never really establishes a position on the inside, so when the cross goes up, Agudelo basically ran unopposed at the goal. I’d still be critical if Agudelo had to jump over Morrow to get the header, but I’d be less disappointed. Toronto does not play physical when it comes to defending crosses, they let the receiver do whatever they want to get to the ball. It’s almost like they think its good manners to do so.
The ball was also placed perfectly because Woodbury had time to find his target. If Toronto wants to stop the increasing number on the Waking the Red Beat on Crosses count, they have to play with some physicality. They have to get a body on the people in the box and they have to contest someone making a move to cross.
The Shiniest Head in The League
I don’t know what is going on with Michael Bradley this week, but he seems to be taking his role much more seriously; he has been playing like a captain should be playing. He played with a fire that hasn’t been burning as bright in a very long time. There’s no picture that can do Bradley’s run justice, you must watch this to understand . Here is where he took his shot from.
Everyone behind him is someone he beat. Whether they got beaten by pace or they got beaten by dribbling skills, Bradley got here through sheer will, skill and a few lucky bounces of his shin. This is also an accurate summary of how he played all game. He put 3 shots on goal along with Giovinco and really took control of the midfield. Bradley being in form makes Toronto’s midfield look incredible, the midfield being one of the biggest strong points in the game.
Hats off to Bradley, he really seemed to step up seeing Altidore go down. Without their specialty goal scorer, Bradley seemed to channel his inner Altidore and scored a goal that had Shuttleworth like…
The Gatekeeper of Tom’s River, New Jersey
Chris Konopka is really stepping up to his role as back up keeper. He had eight saves tonight on a day where New England was really pressuring the net with his shots.
I don’t know if it’s enough for a goalkeeper controversy a la Toronto Maple Leafs, but the work he is doing filling in for injured Joe Bendik has been exceptional.
It Might Be an Altitore
Altidore went down in the worst way possible, a non-contact injury. Luke Moore was alright in coming in for him very early in the game, but Altidore being out for any amount of time is going to mean that someone has to step up in the striker position in a big way. The height and physicality of Altidore is unmatched by anyone in on Toronto currently, but this gives a chance for Luke Moore or Eriq Zaveleta. Uncle Vanney could give him some time to prove himself instead of letting him sit on the bench all season.
Toronto is heading into a part of their schedule where they play Western Conference teams, though the Portland Timbers are struggling this season, they still play the inform San Jose Earthquakes and DC United, who are tied for best team in the league points wise. High quality competition, as we saw with this game, tends to bring out the best in people, so I hope Vanney experiments with Altidore’s replacement.
To End This Crystal Palace
Sometimes the way a team plays is more important than the result. As weird as that is to think, Toronto and their fans should be pretty pleased with the effort the team put in outside of being beat on a cross AGAIN. Let’s hope that Bradley continues this effort he put in, is his dad giving him lots of compliments?