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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

AFTER 90: Turtles v Pumas

"Oooh, we don't love turtling..."

A surprisingly festive atmosphere despite a small crowd at BMO Field as the number of Pumas supporters in attendance was well in the hundreds. Giant golden kitty cat faces everywhere - Nick Soolsma must have been in heaven. Actually, it was quite possibly the largest ever away support number at a TFC match - despite the "away" supporters all having 416 phone numbers. Fans of both Los Rojas and Los Gatos may have been expecting another romp for the Mexicans after their 4-0 trouncing of Toronto in Mexico City but with TFC facing an end to their 2011 competitions, they would have to man-up. It was 2011 or bust as the undermanned Reds took to the pitch.
20' - YELLOW CARD :  Matt Stinson
35' - GOAL: Toronto - Peri Marosevic
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHT: Koevermans creating a goal out of nothing.
FIRST HALF LOWLIGHT: Waiting 15 minutes for TFC to start playing
45' - SUB: Doneil Henry for Danny Koevermans
49' - GOAL: Pumas UNAM - Marco Palacios
65' - SUB: Javier Martina for Nick Soolsma
75' - SUB: Matt Gold for Richard Eckersley
90'+ - YELLOW CARD:  Ashtone Morgan
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHT: Not giving up 4 goals.
SECOND HALF LOWLIGHT: Seeing your team play frightened on their home pitch.
For the first time since he took charge of TFC, we are openly critical of Aron Winter tonight. We never realized that his "system" included good old turtling. The Reds went into the half with a lead, and without Pumas being able to fully control the match, yet the decision was made to take off The Reds' only reliable offensive threat in exchange for a fifth defender - and an academy product at that.

Sometimes bunkering down with a lead against superior opposition is okay - possibly with a 2 goal lead with 20 minutes remaining. Inviting one of the region's best clubs to a 45 minute long shooting gallery is just plain uninspired, weak, and when only 3 points will truly do - unacceptable. To play that kind of "catenaccio" football you have to be sound in defence with solid ball skills. Considering the majority of TFC's defenders look like giraffes with seizures when the ball is at their feet, this was never going to end well. After a long season, it is disappointing that the fruits of Winter's "system" looked a lot like Preki's "system" from a year ago. Sadly, it looks as if Toronto’s Champions League hopes have gone the same route as well.

The match left us feeling: like playing "catenaccio" with our season tickets
PLAYER RATINGS: Milos Kocic 6.5 / Richard Eckersley 6.5 (Matt Gold - ) / Andy Iro 5 / Ty Harden 4.5 / Ashtone Morgan 6 / Julian de Guzman 6.5 / Matt Stinson 5.5 / Peri Marosevic 7 / Nick Soolsma 6 (Javier Martina 5.5 ) / Danny Koevermans 6.5 (Doneil Henry 6) / Ryan Johnson 5.5
TALKING POINT: Where did Preki get that Aron Winter costume? Discuss.


  1. naaaaaah. can't agree with that one at all. with all the players out, taking on pumas toe to toe would have been suicide. we played a classic underdog kind of game, keep it tight, get some luck and take a chance when you get it. There's no shame in adapting your tactics when against a better opponent. christ, everyone's always complained that winter doesn't look like he knows what he's doing tactically, this was a good game from him in my opinion, showed he can do something different rather than stubbornly stick to the same plan.

    also I thought Harden did really well in the middle of the back 5 (and even in the first half, I'd say it was a back 5, with eckersley in the centre, and stinson at right back).

    I'll happily take an ugly point over a pretty loss.

    love the soolsma joke though. I lol'd.

  2. @ Duncan

    Appreciate the way you saw it and there is merit in trying to preserve a lead but in my eyes - the 45 minute mark was just way too early. By taking of Koef, they eliminated any plausible chance of scoring a 2nd goal and I just can't buy into that style at home.

    Pumas are a good club but we have been dominated far worse at home in the past and still tried to play our game. Leaving it up to us to go into Dallas and steal 3 points is far too risky in my opinion.

    As far as Harden, his poor clearance led to the corner that led to the goal. way was he more responsible in the back than the rest of the "defence". We will have to respectfully agree to disagree on this one. Hope they prove me wrong in Dallas. At least we always have Soolsma/cat humour.

    Cheers mate

  3. unless Koevermans was tired (really getting tired of his not match fit excuse...after how many months in?) that was a terrible decision. I would have expected that sub maybe in the 70-75th min. Once again Winter decides that turtling with a lead is going to work. I laughed out loud when i read the giraffe comment. Spot on.

  4. well yes, the koevermans sub was very interesting inded, and that part of it I certainly don't agree with unless he was injured(setanta said he wasn't feeling well).

    and in Dallas we need a win, so if we go with the same tactics there I'll be pissed.

    maybe because I'd have happily taken a draw beforehand, I'm happy with the game plan on this one. If Koevermans HAD to go off, then that was the best we could have hoped for with the players we had available, and it didn't really change the formation, just the players within it.

    I'm all about results, I grew up watching shit football, so I don't need that attractive, exciting football stufff. It's nice, but it's very secondary for me.

    so yes, agree to disagree works for me. Will they prove us all wrong in Dallas? I very much doubt it.

  5. In the second half Pumas were able to generate service for their forwards through their midfield, so would you say that they had the edge in that area of the field?