clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Morning After Analysis: Toronto FC beat Portland Timbers

New, 34 comments

Jake Payne breaks down what went right for Toronto FC in a dominating 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Even though some of the supporters may not be entirely happy, Toronto's 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers was a great display of attacking ability and defensive improvement. This was certainly a game that was generally under Toronto's control and could have easily been a much more uneven scoreline.

Saying Hey Yo, I'm Giovinco

Sebastian Giovinco seemed to answer the call for who the new attacking threat would be with Altidore being down. He was absolutely everywhere yesterday and left no doubt in anyone's mind that he is easily the best player in the MLS. Portland's back line probably had a very sleepless night because Giovinco kept entering their dreams and dribbling around them.

He got on the board early with a fantastic goal in the 5th minute.

This is seconds before Giovinco’s goal from distance. You’ll notice top notch Microsoft Paint work here. Giovinco gets the ball in an interesting position here and because he is such a top class player, he notices several things. One of which is Portland Timbers defender Alvas Powell, who is basically just closing off an option. He can’t move in to cut Giovinco off because anything other than getting the ball would open up the wings or the ball could get dumped off to a blazing Ashtone Morgan.

Recognizing that nobody is going to press him he also notices the red circle, which is a nice open space. This isn’t wide open pasture, but its pasture an experienced farmer would know how to work. Giovinco realizes that nobody is going to try to get physical with him here because of his movement, he probably planned this shot from this moment.

Something else very important is that he keeps his head down. The keeper can’t read his eyes or get ready in any way. His leg movement was incredibly fast, he could have easily turned that into a pass. Instead he launches a very awesome shot from distance and scores the difference maker.

A shot that had goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey like…

Saving the Trees

Portland's Passing Chart                                                       Toronto's passing chart

Just to get it out of the way, Portland had much more possession that Toronto, a whopping 59.5% of it. Yet, if you can have a lot of possession and do nothing with it, it makes having the ball pretty useless. Looking at where Portland’s passes were and where they were going, you’ll notice that Toronto’s penalty area is pretty clean in terms of passes entering it. That means that Toronto’s back line did well with shutting off options. Part of that, I think, was leaving out Nick Hagglund until the end.

Also it seems that Toronto FC listened to my crushing criticism of them last week, Portland threw 23 crosses up during the game and there was no goal. Though Portland had three successful open play crosses into the box, they did something that actually surprised me. Portland had no successful crosses on set pieces. While the injury to Diego Valeri for Portland certainly could have helped, it was great to see Toronto playing crosses physically and intelligently.

Wakka Nopka Flame

I’m sorry if it seems like I have a crush on Chris Konopka, but I kind of do.

He had another great game, which was of course, helped by a very strong defensive effort by Toronto. When it did come down to his needing to make a save, he did it with admirable confidence.

In this save he shows incredible presence of mind. The Dairon Asprilla shot was bound to rebound off of him but he got into this position to cut off any further chaos.

He doesn’t dive to push the ball into another undesirable place, he basically does a hockey goalie move and hugs the post and kicks it out of bounds. I really want to push for him to be the keeper for the rest of the season and since he’s been in, I always have. I really like what he does and I feel like he keeps his head better than Bendik does when the defense falls apart.

He doesn’t dive to push the ball into another undesirable place, he basically does a hockey goalie move and hugs the post and kicks it out of bounds. I really want to push for him to be the keeper for the rest of the season and since he’s been in, I always have. I really like what he does and I feel like he keeps his head better than Bendik does when the defense falls apart.

I think the game against San Jose will be the biggest test for him as San Jose will pressure Toronto’s defense that doesn’t handle speed very well. If he does well in that match, the white smoke will be up and the keeper for Toronto should be chosen.

To Close This Out Like a Vermette Goal In Double Overtime

I think Toronto is finding its groove offensively, even without Altidore. The question is always going to be what the backline is up to and San Jose is going to be that game where they are going to get tested. I don’t know what’s going to happen in Toronto’s upcoming friendly against Manchester City, but it might be a good time to give some bench players some time against a very quality club.