TFC season opens with one rare thing (excitement) and one typical thing (a loss)
Toronto Football Club’s 4-2 defeat against the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps opened the regular season on Saturday at Empire Field. The game was equal parts exhilaration and embarrassment. Exhilarating because so many goals were scored; embarrassing because most of those goals came against—instead of for—TFC. Considering the lopsided loss was against a squad that was roundly predicted to be the worst in Major League Soccer this year, the Reds didn’t exactly start the season off on the right—ahem—foot.
If the Reds can give up four goals to an expansion team playing in its first-ever MLS game, it’s hard not to think about the number of balls that are going to find the back of the TFC net against stronger sides. And, making matters worse, TFC appears even more disorganized off the field than it is on the field.
Quoth the Sun:
New head coach Aron Winter is attempting to implement a ball possession system similar to his former European powerhouse side, Ajax. But as a highly regarded soccer insider said following Saturday’s dismal performance by the Reds, it takes considerable time for any team to adapt to that style of play, never mind a side that appears to be lacking in the talent necessary to effectively play that system.
But what’s even more troubling than the awful performance by TFC, its defenders particularly, was the way in which Winter responded to his team’s ass-kicking. The former Dutch international suggested that the loss was more to do with key offsides that weren’t called and non-calls by referee Paul Ward than it had to do with the expansion Whitecaps coming out with much more drive and commitment.
Toronto captain Dwayne De Rosario, who scored for TFC along with Maicon Santos, probably had it right when he said the loss was the result of a pair of factors—Vancouver rising to the occasion emotionally and strategically and the Reds still trying to adapt to Winter’s system.
Judging by its performance this weekend, there is already talk that Toronto looks destined to miss the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. It may be a little early for those sorts of doom-and-gloom prognostications (it was the first game of the season, after all), but if the Reds’ opening-day performance is any indication of what’s to come, Winters and company are in for a very long year.
• Toronto FC looks past Vancouver loss as home opener beckons [Toronto Star]
• Toronto FC opens season with 4-2 loss at Vancouver [Toronto Star]
• It’s not ALL bad for TFC [Toronto Sun]
• Dream start for Whitecaps [Globe and Mail]