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Broken Promises for TFC

A week of frustration for TFC

It started out as promising as anyone on Toronto F.C. could’ve imagined.

Playing 4 games in 12 days is a tough task for any club, especially when your squad is battling injuries. But the win versus Cruz Azul has been the team’s only real positive since it began a string of games almost two weeks ago.

After taking it on the chin from New York, Toronto traveled to Panama on Tuesday to play Arabe Unido in the CONCACAF Champions League. Arabe is one of the weaker teams in TFC’s group, and the club was looking for an away win to give them six points and first place in their opening two games.

Poor field conditions forced the Panamanians to move from their usual stadium, and it looked like the change would help eliminate home field advantage: only 300 or so supporters were on hand to watch a brutal game from both sides.

Coach Preki has been saying that his club is serious about the Champions League but you wouldn’t be able to tell at the start of the game. Preki only slotted three regulars in the lineup, opting to give star players like Dwayne DeRosario and Mista the night off, and hoping the subs could grind out an away win.

Preki gets red card for time-wasting

That never happened. The only time TFC had any kind of spark was when DeRosario came on at the half… but by then it was too late. Arabe scored the only goal of the game early and held on for a 1-0 win, while Toronto seemed disinterested and finished the game with nine players when Nick Labrocca and Fuad Ibrahim picked up red cards.

With Toronto’s starters rested, it was back to MLS action and their quest to make the playoffs. It wouldn’t be easy as they hosted defending MLS cup champs Real Salt Lake at BMO field in Toronto. Real were also coming into this game off a Champions League battle with Cruz Azul in Mexico, losing a heartbreaker 5-4 in the final minute.

Toronto looked sharper in the opening half, with Canadian international Will Johnson starting on the bench for Salt Lake, along with teammate Robbie Findley. TFC couldn’t take advantage and went into the half tied at zero. Preki brought in Jacob Peterson and O’Brian White in the second half for some added offence, but they still couldn’t produce a goal as the team continues to struggle putting the ball in the back of the net. Real, on the other hand, has been a scoring machine this year without the benefit of a designated player… but they seemed a little unlucky, hitting four goal posts in the nil-nil draw.

In the four games Toronto has played, they have come away with three points in Champions League play and one point in MLS games. They get set to travel to Dallas next Saturday.

Len Grammenopoulos

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A little R&R for TFC

Len Grammenopoulos


DeGuzman reacts to his missed shot

Starting tomorrow, Major League Soccer will take a two-week break as players leave their club teams to play for their country.  Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it– Toronto F.C. will not have any players leaving for South Africa.  This is too bad because players like T.F.C. captain Dwayne DeRosario would have an opportunity to show his skills to the world. But it also would have meant that Canada had qualified.

The break will give DeRosario some time off to rest, having already logged 763 min in Toronto’s first 11 games.  Another player who could use some rest is Julian DeGuzman. The midfielder tweaked his hamstring on Saturday in a 0-0 draw versus Kansas City.  DeGuzman was forced to finish the game limping around the midfield because Preki had already used his 3 subs. A hurting DeGuzman missed an opportunity to win it late in the game, putting one high over the bar from just outside the box.  However, T.F.C. is now undefeated in its last five games and comfortably in second place in the East division. That puts them in a nice position to make a run to the playoffs after the World Cup break.

One of the positives from Saturday’s game is that Toronto played better when they went a man down. Nick Garcia earned a red card after a harsh foul on Kei Kamara. But Preki has his team playing with a confidence that hasn’t been seen around BMO Field since the team’s inception. So when the referee evened the match with another red card to Kansas City forward Craig Rocastle, Toronto went all-out for the win… but fell short.


DeRosario: 763 min. in 11 games

This is a team that is learning to win. Last year, T.F.C. would’ve been happy with a draw. Not anymore. After the match, Preki said the game “felt like a loss.” Meanwhile, DeRosario has become a true leader, disappointed with the fact they couldn’t come up with three points.

Walking around the dressing room after the game, it’s refreshing to see a team not happy with a tie… and hungry for wins.  In one year, the team’s attitude has changed for the better.  Finally, the 21,000 faithful fans who pack BMO field have something to look forward to.

Len is The Fan 590’s field level reporter for TFC games. He plans to spend the two-week break getting hitched while cheering for his beloved Greece. Xronia Polla!

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