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Thursday, April 5, 2012

THE SOUTH COUCH REPORT : Santos Laguna v. Toronto... or Do you remember that Cup run in 2012?

What a damn ride.  With every step after Dallas, "impossible" kept getting downgraded a little bit further.  And for 45 minutes, our dearest, at-times-dysfunctional, Robins made those of us who were watching that the world was ours for the taking.

Prediction : survive.  That's all.

No notes were taken during the match.  Too much excitement to remember to write things.

Onto the match:

15' - GOAL - OMGPLATA!!!!

31' - GOAL - Herculez Gomez

43' - GOAL - PLATA!!!

45' - GOAL - Herculez Gomez

Burrito Bhoys 2, Robins 2

Half-time mood : My mind is blown.  My heart is racing.  My nerves are almost shot.  Whatever you think my mood is, you're probably right and probably a doctor.

54' - Gomez is left alone from a corner and shanks a perfect opportunity for bagging his hat trick.

55' - PENALTY - Suarez was attacking on the inside of the penalty area threatening, but causing no immanent danger.  deGoo decides to run him down, tripping him up from behind without an attempt to get the ball.

56' - GOAL - Rodriguez converts.

Burrito Bhoys 3, Robins 2

59' - SUB - Dunfield comes off for the returning Stinson.  Dunfield took a few knocks during the game so not a bad substitute.

63' - PENALTY - Oh no... Aceval goes for a diving header to clear the ball from the box and heads it down to the ground, bouncing to his flailing arm.  A legit call, but a bit eye-rolling.

64' - GOAL - Rodriguez converts.  Again.

Burrito Bhoys 4, Robins 2

65' - SUB - Plata makes way for Lambe.  A little confusing as Plata was a bit of a terror for the Santos back line for much of the match.

66' - GOAL - Peralta scores.

Burrito Bhoys 5, Robins 2

69' - SUB - Aceval makes way for the returning Henry.  If Toronto are going to fight this to the bitter end, a change at the back was necessary.

3 minutes of extra time

90+2' - GOAL - Luduena seals the deal.

FULL TIME - Santos Laguna 6, Toronto 2

Man of the Match : Plata.  Why not.

Goat of the Game : I'm going with deGoo and here's why : Your captain should never ever do such a garbage tackle in your own penalty area when you're in the second leg of a tournament that you're a sniff away from the final.  That felt like the catalyst for the change in fortunes and really undid the hard work of the other ten players on the side up until that point.  Call change or not, that call being changed would have never had happened had the captain opted to think it through.

Ref Rating : 4 out of 5. The question of the ref calling for a corner and the linesman overturning it to a penalty is troublesome.  Didn't think that could happen, but I am not a ref.

Kocic 7, Harden 6.5, Aceval 6 [Henry 6.5], Eckersley 7.5, Morgan 7, Dunfield 6 [Stinson 6], deGoo 5.5, Silva 6, Johnson 6.5, Plata 8.5 [Lambe N/A], Soolsma 8

Now that the nerves have settled, it is depressing to think that though Toronto were, on paper and statistically, out of their element, that they were so close to the final.  35 minutes close.  The thing to truly be taken away from the disappointing result is that this side is not far away at all from being a genuine threat in MLS.  Perhaps a signing or two?  Perhaps some more time to develop?  It would be challenging to think of anything short of "bright future ahead" for Winter and his side.

The MLS season now officially starts this weekend against the dreaded Cheese Makers of Montreal.  We'll see you then.

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