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Saturday, March 30, 2013

THE SOUTH STAND REPORT : Toronto v Los Angeles... or Aaaaaaah, finally no dome, no turf

I know, this needs to be updated.  Hopefully they'll sign someone equally rediculous to make it easier on me.

Springtime in Toronto.  Is it here?  To be fair, it's not important as long as it FEELS like spring by kick-off and maintains its springness until the final whistle.  If mother nature wants to do a heel-turn and make a blizzard by 4:30, so be it.

The circus-free Galaxy have gone 2-0-1 early in the season with Mike "Who" Magee leading the league in goals with 4.  It feels cheap for me to review the stats and standings after 3 matches.  Only by match 10 will we know how grim things truly are.

After the whuppin' by Montreal (and lets be fair, aside from a 30 minute display where they looked great, there was not much to celebrate), the respite gives them more time to tweak and tinker. Plenty to be optimistic about.

Starting XI
Russell - O'Dea - Califf - Eckersley
Bostock - Dunfield - Hall - Lambe
Ephraim - Earnshaw

16' - GOAL - A very pretty pass carving the back four finds Magee who taps one past Bendik for his fifth of the campaign.

21' - Magee is already sniffing for a second as he gets his head on a well floated cross, but Bendik makes a fantastic save from no more than 3 yards out.

29' - GOAL - Los Angeles completely mishandles a pass to one of their defenders allowing Earnshaw to poke at it.  Cudicini charges out to race for the ball, but Robbie gets to it first, pushes it past the keeper and then floats one in from 20 yards out.  Spectacular!

36' - Bostock cross pitch to Lambe who gets into the penalty area and has a go only to bury it into the side netting.  Close...

Quote of the match:
Do these guys even practice?
~ my brother at his first TFC game
regarding the home side's midfield

Half-Time Mood : Still optimistic.  At this point, we've realized that every goal scored this season has been the direct (or indirect) result of a counter attack.  Indirect due to the penalties.  So we're like a mediocre Manchester United. Editor's note: Don't forget to have a go at him in the comments, you know you want to.

52' - YELLOW - Califf goes into the box for looking a little bit too much like the lead singer from Reel Big Fish. (sue me, I love ska...)

55' - Lambe delivered a cross which found Bostock's head and popped it back into the path of Earnshaw but Cudicini caught it.  Fun stuff.

62' - Landon Donovan first touch from a through ball and his shot is right at Bendik.

64' - SUB - Dunfield comes off for Osorio.  This substitution would've taken place closer to the 80th minute, if this were year 3.

69' - O'Dea misses an opportunity at becoming a league wide legend by NOT pummelling Donovan after a two-handed shove. Because Landycakes is the teacher's league's pet, no card.

72' - SUB - Ephraim comes off for Silva

78' - GOAL - a floated pass towards Earnshaw has him one-foot donkey kick it to Silva who then stepovers and stepovers and then lays off to Osorio who slots a slow ball into the far netting catching Cudicini way off his line.  Brilliant!

89' - Looks like Agbossoumonde is about to come on but play continues until...

3 minutes of extra time

90+1' - GOAL - SONOVABITCH!  Russell collects a cross the Toronto penalty area and heads it back into the middle where Villareal scissor kicks it past a helpless Bendik from 8 yards out.

90+3' - Bostock successfully battles his way into a corner kick scenario.  Ensuing kick is headed away and there goes the whistle...

Full Time : Toronto 2, Los Angeles 2

Man of the Match : It's tough as Earnshaw was a terror, and O'Dea was very good, but Bendik was the difference between a draw and a blow out.

Goat of the Game : Though Dunfield's presence was minimal and ineffective, Hall's presence was greater and even more ineffective.

Ref Rating : 3 out of 5.  There weren't many blown calls, but blown opportunities to show cards.

I'm Not The Gaffer But... : Russell looked more like a stopgap defender than someone who plays there naturally.  If he's a winger, I move him to his natural wing side (which appears to be the right), Ecks on his regular right side, I move Bostock to central attacking midfield and let him play the diagonals much like DeRo does, and leave Dunfield as a centre mid, 4-3-1-2 style.

Hall doesn't impress me, but at least Nelsen was willing to make changes earlier by swapping Dunfield.  If there's a winning combination of central mids, keep tinkering, but Hall/Dunfield should not be the default.  Hopefully Osorio made a strong case for himself.

Lambe definitely stepped up his game.  He was taking chances, playing aggressively but was far from perfect, but certainly improved.  Perhaps he sees the writing on the wall but if that's what gets him to play better, find bigger walls to write on as it worked.  I thought I was crazy but @kzknowles saw it too so either we're both batshit insane or correct.

The top of section 117 is a joy.  Our new home is quiet, Tribal Rhythm Nation notwithstanding.  We could barely hear the antiquated Dichio chants.  To our friends in 113, stay strong and migrate when you can.

Player ratings : Bendik 7.5, Russell 6, O'Dea 7, Califf 6.5, Eckersley 6, Bostock 6, Dunfield 5.5 [Osorio 7], Hall 5.5, Lambe 6.5, Ephraim 6 [Silva N/A], Earnshaw 7

@ignirtoq was once a manager in an adult money league. The side was terrible and the money man of the side insisted that his THIRTEEN YEAR OLD pudgy son was the LONE STRIKER.  Needless to say we didn't score too many goals.  Otherwise, he's not half bad at FIFA13


  1. I will ignore the United comparison...

    Hall and Dunfield both squander opportunities, but Hall's pursuit and tackling of Landyboy in the late going would have saved him from goat status in my book...
    Lambe might be improving and would be the sort of player that TFC would loan out when new DP arrives, but I feel you are letting emotion cloud you. Lambe improved is still not enough.

    1. Lambe is merely 'for now'. If all the sound bites are true, they're still looking for players and Lambe cannot be safe. He'll do fine in the NASL. :)

  2. Welcome to 117! We're the introspective, quieter sibling to 113. The unused scalper seats give you lots of room to spread out as the season goes on.

    You'll get used to the drums...ahh who am I kidding.

    1. Thank you for the welcome. I have a beautifully absurd plan for the drums that should enhance entertainment for years to come.

      Or fail miserably.

  3. Brief appearences can be deceiving, but right now Osorio looks the better prospect than Bekker: quicker, better under pressure 1 v 1 or 1 v 2.

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  5. The Guy from Section 125

    I have been following your blog off and on for the last 3 years. Keep up the good work.

    Comment. Each year I sell more of my tickets to reduce my cost of holding season seats. But really, its to dilute the terrible football entertainment I am accustom to seeing played at BMO field to date.

    Yesterdays game was no more entertaining then seeing my local rep team play.

    My goal this year is to convince enough fans...(yes fans, since the south east side does not consider me a support due to my criticisms of the team)to stop chanting Danny Dicchio (SP) at the 20 something minute of each game.

    1. I commend your efforts sir in helping putting this scourge to rest.

      Statistically and figuratively, we've had far better players that were less heralded than Dichio yet have no songs about them.

      That being said, I don't know what Koevermans has to do to have a song about him :)

    2. it's not about dichio though, it's about when we scored our first goal, a moment of history. maybe just needs a change of lyrics

      ooooooh, oh we scored a goal
      scored a goal,
      scored a goal,
      oh we scored a goal.

      for the record I like that it still gets sung.

    3. This. This is good.

      We will need to make this happen. Shouldn't be too hard :)

  6. I'm hoping we're both correct; or at least batshit insane for a far better reason! I still don't think he's the answer - but that could be said for most of the midfield - yet perhaps there's enough talent and desire for him to up his game enough to be consistently productive.

  7. I thought Bostock played very poorly. When the team was advancing the ball offensively he held the ball and pushed the ball backwards and giving up possibilities. He also gave up ball to Galaxy and played out of position. Bendik played well, Earnshaw remains consistently good and Silva seems like the only creative playmaker we have on the team.