Toronto 2-2 Los Angeles


Game in a sentence

Jonathan Osorio completes the journey from section 113 to hometown hero, as Toronto FC overcome an early deficit to stun the Galaxy only to blow it late in typical TFC style.

Observations

  • Ashtone Morgan may be exhausted and thus, deserves some time off. Unfortunately, if Darel Russell is next off the bench Kevin Payne and Ryan Nelsen aren’t doing enough. Russell’s clearance attempt late in extra time found it’s way to sub Jose Villarreal, who deposited the ball past Joe Bendik with a delicious scissor kick. The kid is going to be a star. Back to Russell though. He was poor throughout and found himself drawing attention from analysts and fans alike for all the wrong reasons.
  • Four points in four games isn’t the end of the world, but it was looking so much better after Jonathan Osorio’s goal in the 78th minute. The introduction of the Brampton native and Luis Silva looked to be a masterstroke by Nelsen. A superb flick on by Robert Earnshaw gave Silva room to work against Omar Gonzalez one on one. Silva did just enough to get in a ball across the goal mouth, where Osorio got enough to beat Carlo Cudicini.
  • Speaking of the former Chelsea/Spurs man, an egregious error by the veteran Italian keeper made a poor situation created by a Leonardo error considerably worse by rushing out of his crease. Earnshaw beat Cudicini to the ball, and calmly chipped the ball over Gonzalez to equalize.
  • Considering the first 20 minute of the game, TFC could consider themselves lucky to be tied at halftime. Mike Magee opened the scoring in the 17th minute with his league leading 5th goal. Marcelo Sarvas, who was fantastic today, whipped in a cross (or shot depending on who you ask) towards the back post. Magee beat Russell to the ball, putting a damper on the home opener festivities.
  • Landon Donovan came back to North America for the important things. First, to visit the White House and President Obama. And Second, to see Toronto one more time. Donovan replaced Jack McBean in the 61st minute and nearly opened his 2013 account on his first touch, accepting a pass from Magee only to roll the ball hopelessly into Bendik’s arms.
  • Toronto’s defense remains leaky, but the presence of Darren O’Dea and Danny Califf have brought a sense of accountability to Toronto’s set piece defending. O’Dea’s voice is heard on television, above the crowd and commentators, when barking out orders.
  • John Bostock may have had his first welcome to MLS moment today, matching up against veteran Todd Dunivant. Bostock was shaky at times, sending panicky passes that were easily picked out, but the former Spurs man settled in and showed his ability towards the latter stages of the match.
  • Toronto welcomes Dallas to BMO field next Saturday while LA hosts Monterrey on Wednesday, in a Champions League clash. TFC’s play against one of the best teams in the league was more than adequate, but once again a late lapse leaves the reds wondering what could of been.

Three stars

1. Robert Earnshaw

2. Mike Magee

3. Marcelo Sarvas

Comments (7)

  1. Osorio showed more technical skill in 15 minutes than Hall and Dunfield combined in all total games they have played. 2 central mids that can do more than kick the ball and run are desperately needed.

  2. AC….

    I agree that Osorio has looked good in preseason, and in the few min he has been on the field, but there has to be something said about slowly pushing a player in to professional soccer. He will have good moments and bad, as he is still learning, but we want those moments to happen in small doses right now.

    We cant be throwing a mens league player on to the pitch 4 games later, and expecting him to start every game.

    Mid depth is the strong point right now with Silva, Osorio and Bekker all looking to take min from Hall & Dunfield, who have not been doing too bad this year, sure its not as attractive as we want, but it is a stop gap until players are brought in or are ready to make the jump.

    Plus Robert Earnshaw is a hoofball type player, so Toronto is playing to its strengths right now.

    • I agree with bringing Osorio along slowly, but i’ve liked what i’ve seen from him. it’s just extremely frustrating 2 guys in Hall and Dunfield that are borderline MLS players starting every game. a bit of possession aside from Bostock would help relieve the constant pressure the d is under almost the entire game.

    • Based on the team’s formation at the moment, you need a strong physical presence as d-mid/holding mid destroyer shielder of the central defence, I don’t see any of those traits in Silva, Osorio, or Bekker. As maligned as they have been by the fans, Nelsen has been happy enough with what he has seen from them keep them in their starting spots.

      I think the bigger midfield problem is with the guys in front of the holding mids. The team doesn’t generate a whole lot offensively. You sense that even against a lower echelon MLS side the team would still struggle to create proper service for Earnshaw. Silva’s attacking instinct sin the final third are his strength but will he be able to take his game to the next level on a consistent basis? The two flank mids and the AM need to be far more influential in dictating the play than what I have seen so far from them. I sense that we may see a shake up in that part of the field come the next match.

      • I think Dunfield and Hall have been doing what’s asked of them – defend, and get the ball forward. Hall, everyone should note, started the play that led to Osorio’s goal. He gained possession in our end, and quickly passed the ball to Earnshaw, who flicked it on to Silva.

        I agree that Nelsen is likely to make changes for the Dallas game. But I expect it will be Silva for Ephraim, who I’m surprised doesn’t get much mention. IMO, he’s been ineffectual all four games, which could well be because of the set-up.

        Lambe is working hard both ways, but he has to make more of the one or two chances he gets each game. That was a wasted effort when he decided to shoot for the top corner to his left. He had a better option on the ground to the right. Easy to say, I know, but if he doesn’t force the keeper to deal with the shot, Nelsen will find someone who will.

        • Agreed, there needs to be a better connection between the link up play of the attacking midfielder/second striker. A healthy Silva should take Hogan’s role in the middle, which could really start to open up play.

          Also, something to mention as well is that every single Kevin Payne team has always brought in a #10… Marco Etcheverry, Christian Gomez, Dero, Branko… so maybe expect something to budge in the near future.

          youblewthestoryherb, I agree Bekker & Osorio lack the steel needed to be the breakup midfielder, but they can play a box to box role which gives a bit more going forward, as well as they are defensively responsible. That all being said, I do think for the time being, the Hall/Dunny midfield is ok, if we are going to continue to nick in goals on the few chances we create.

          • Eventually, I’d like to see a more prominent box to box mid to go with one of the the defensively inclined holding mids. I watched Osorio pretty closely in his last two appearences and I don’t think he’s as defensively responsible as you think (lacks awareness positionally) but he looks to have good athleticism/quickness. The latter is the thing I wonder about with regards to Bekker: he has a good head for all facets of the game and quality skills but in recent NT outings as well as the Impact match he seemed a bit off the pace in terms of strength for 50/50 balls or more importantly overall quickness in the defensive side of the game. You get the sense that Osorio might turn out to be the better player with the higher ceiling.

            I wouldn’t mid seeing a situation where either Hall or Dunfield is the d-mid, Osorio the box to box/linking guy, and Silva the AM/No. 10. Gives a bit more midfield balance.

            I agree with cwell about Ephraim: though he has improved since the first match, he still doesn’t exert enough influence on the game at his position. He’s not close to even being a poor man’s David Ferreira. I suspect that he’ll be headed home once the loan spell is done.

            Right now, opting to go with Bekker and

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