Warning: This article is heavily weighted on the ‘good’ side. Please handle with care.
Champions find a way to win… TFC’s win expressed as an equation: new formation + five new starters + a long flight to the west coast + second game in less than 72 hours + playing against the MLS Cup winners = three points… the offside call against Seattle in the fifth minute… Jozy Altidore vs. Stefan Frei, part one: Jozy scores on the penalty… Nick Hagglund playing the right side. He has now played across the back three, and has been more than successful at each position… Jay Chapman’s quick movement throughout his 65 minutes, including the give-and-go with Altidore that led to the penalty… Greg Vanney moving Raheem Edwards back to the left at the start of the second half. It’s a lot to ask a rookie to play the opposite side of the pitch, against the defending Cup champions, on artificial turf no less… Justin Morrow’s hustle and coverage throughout the match. He did especially well on the right side, filling in for Edwards (and Steven Beitashour)… 41,000 fans watching an early-season MLS game… TSN’s half-time ‘All for One’ retrospective on Vanney. In the words of one of my daughters, “that was cool”… Benoit Cheyrou’s presence allowing Michael Bradley to play further upfield… Chris Mavinga and Hagglund’s aerial prowess. They should be dubbed the “R.A.D” (Reds Air Defence). I sense a potential marketing campaign. You’re welcome, TFC… Altidore vs. Frei, part two: Altidore’s vicious strike in the 40th minute. Frei with the save… Jason Hernandez’s fist pump in the second half. Who said that this was just another game?… a clean sheet with a completely new back line and a goalie who hadn’t played in five weeks… Steven Caldwell’s comment that “everyone contributed” to TFC’s win. Although stating the obvious, it needed to be said.
Several weak touches and poor corners from Bradley. The captain is tired and needs a much-deserved rest… Armando Cooper as the odd man out - an expensive odd man out. Delgado or Chapman are better choices at this stage… Jordy Delem getting hoofed in the right shin and then receiving a yellow card for his trouble… TSN had a brilliant bit on the Frei save (MLS Cup final). The only problem is that they aired it during their post-game EPL coverage. That piece needed to be the focal point of the TFC pre-game show on national television.
Looking at the gold star on the Sounders’ jerseys… Roman Torres’ hair… the Seattle coach’s supporter scarf… how did Cristian Roldan’s low cross in the 28th minute make it all the way to an open Jordan Morris? It travelled past six TFC defenders… the artificial turf at CenturyLink Field. In the words of my other daughter, “it looks like the olden days”… the fact that my daughter thinks that the 1980s and 1990s qualify as the “olden days”.