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Sunday, April 10, 2011

AFTER 90: 1.1 on the Richter Scale as Reds alert against Quakes

Birchmount Stadium: The Buck Shaw of Scarborough

A beautiful Northern California sunset welcomed Toronto FC to the one stadium in the league where their road woes have always been put to one side. Possibly playing at Buck Shaw Stadium. a venue that looks like Scarborough's Birchmount Stadium on steroids (that one's for you Scarberians... except you DeRo) put the club at ease. However, while TFC has spun its development wheels since their last visit to San Jose, the Earthquakes, under the leadership of the great Frank Yallop, have improved greatly and wouldn't be a pushover. So, in the heart of the Silicon Valley, did TFC put up an ample challenge... or look like boobs? Get it... Silicon... never mind...
1' - Kick-off. Still think Earthquakes is a very pro-disaster name. Rude.
2' - Chris Wondolowski an early nuisance against Adrian Cann
5' - No word if Adrian Serioux threatened to sue but Nana Attakora's hair gets shorter by the week
8' - Commentary informs that Ty Harden was LA Galaxy defender of the year under Yallop. On cue, Harden gets eaten alive by San Jose's Ryan Johnson
16' - Stevanovic tries to make something of nothing but can't connect on shot
19' - Narrow pitch clogging up the midfield. TFC wing play stifled - Martina hasn't been seen yet
22' - MLS officiating at its finest as ref almost cards Stevanovic for coming back onto field despite the assistant allowing him to
27' - GOAL! Alan Gordon stumbles home a loose ball that originated from a Danleigh Borman cross. Good work from Tchani, Stevanovic and Sam Cronin's head in build-up
30' - San Jose fans "Ole-ing" strings of passes... in the 30th minute. Precious.
34' - Frei controlling traffic as Quakes mount long-distance attacks
35' - Tony "Touch" Tchani gets a yellow card as does former Red Sam Cronin after a little late tackling from the young Cameroonian
38' - GOAL! Nice tight passing and poor marking allows Tottenham-loanee Simon Dawkins to tie the game for the Quakes
41' - Okay, maybe the "Ole-ing" is justified. Quakes dominating play
43' - Javier Martina's invisibility kit fails as he reappears and gets his first touch of the match
45' - Ref's whistle a relief as San Jose clearly in the ascendancy
46' - Julian de Guzman comes into the game for Attakora. Peculiar.
49' - Jacob Peterson dropping to right back next to Harden. Aron Winter obviously thinks the defence wasn't pale enough
50' - Stefan Frei a massive save and Harden with a block to rob Wondolowski twice at close range. Martina close on TFC counter
57' - Reds showing some grit in the midfield
59' - Ryan Johnson exposes Peterson and gets in alone on Frei but the Swiss keeper gets a touch on the ball
62' - Blow to TFC as best player on the pitch Stevanovic hobbles off injured. Replaced by Gianluca Zavarise
64' - Aron Winter opens his shoebox and releases Joao Plata into the game for the largely ineffective Maicon Santos.
65' - Stevanovic muttering to himself in Serbian on the bench. Menacing.
68' - de Guzman wearing the captain's armband. Looks... correct. Just saying.
70' - Plata making series of good runs. They end abruptly when he tries to go under defender's legs
73' - Martina goes very close on a solo effort from 15 yards out
77' - Adrian Cann shutting down most San Jose runs - best game of 2011 for ZooCannder
82' - Tchani and Cronin enjoying quite the little midfield hate-on. Chippy.
86' - Wondolowski dives in the box but a shocker as a MLS ref makes the right call and gives the striker a yellow for simulation
89' - Ike Opara goes all Ike Turner on L'il Joao Plata crashing the wee Ecuadorian through an advertising hoarding
90+ - Toronto FC show a steel not seen often in the past four years as they hold off a late Quake rumble
The work in progress that is TFC continues to make... well, progress. Still far from perfect but a little better every match is a nice change for Reds supporters. While Toronto definitely still needs better quality along the back four, the big positive tonight was being able to hold shape under late pressure. With 10 minutes left and holding onto a draw, many Reds fans winced at the prospect of giving up a late goal but TFC actually looked fairly composed and stuck with their possession gameplan. Again, still not "Total" but a bit closer every match and a hard-earned point against a tough opponent.
PLAYER RATINGS: Stefan Frei 7 / Ty Harden 6 / Nana Attakora 5 / Adrian Cann 8 / Danleigh Borman 6 / Maicon Santos 5 / Jacob Peterson 6 / Tony Tchani 6 / Javier Martina 5 / Alan Gordon 7 / Alen Stevanovic 7 / SUBS: Julian de Guzman 6 / Gianluca Zavarise 5 / Joao Plata 6
MATCH IN FIVE WORDS: Narrow. Chippy. Composure. Birchmount Stadium.


  1. Glad to get the point against a good team. I am waiting to see where this Nana story leads, really not sure what is going on with his play lately. the ref had multiple opportunities to make a meatball out of this game, but kept it civil, the Wondo yellow was surprising lol.

  2. Thanks for the report. Didn't get to see the game last night. Solid result away from home though.