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Saturday, April 13, 2013

THE SOUTH COUCH REPORT : Philadelphia v Toronto... or is this the one where they come together?

Ahhhh... the best seat in the house.  This feels nice.  I'm finally at home for an away game, which sounds like an oxymoron, but I assure you is correct.  The majority of you who are watching it are either in the same predicament, or are enjoying your footie with a pint or two, perhaps some wings or nachos, at your local.  Either way, bask in the comforts.

Though failing to resist writing the following line: Toronto are a mere 2 points out of a playoff spot, with only 29 matches remaining *gasp!*.  Apologies to all, as the filler/preamble feels mandatory.

Starting XI
Russell - Agbossoumonde - O'Dea - Morgan
Lambe - Silva - Hall - Ephraim
Braun - Earnshaw

Very happy to see some change in the lineup.  Braun getting a deserved start, and Bostock getting a bumping.  Still not sold on Ephraim, but perhaps his role on the wing will finally pay dividends as his centre forward/central attacking midfield role didn't impress all too much.

5' - SUB - Russell is hamstrung (hamstring injury) and Richter makes his Robins debut #shitPun

8' - The Philadelphia ABC affiliate play by play guys really like talking about the trio of Jack, Mack and Ernie.  Why haven't I heard of them before?  Sounds like a kids TV show with puppets... Editor's note : he's referencing the Union forward Jack McInerney and the author may have a learning disability, but the tests have been, thus far, inconclusive.

15' - Nice service to see a through ball to Earnshaw who pokes it in, but was a foot or two offside.

21' - Lambe couldn't control the cross in from Earnshaw, after a good battle holding off a few defenders.

21' - YELLOW - Morgan goes into the books for desperately holding off a counter attack.  Not a bad move, to be honest.

27' - Two BIG stops by Bendik, diving stop on a Casey attempt, and a second one from Cruz.  Damn.

44' - Silva free kick from 30 yards out, O'Dea gets up for it but heads it just wide of goal.

Half-Time Mood : Satisfied.  The defenders are not perfect, but not caught out. Some creativity from the front.  Hard to tell if Philadelphia is a little toothless or if Toronto is handling them.

52' - Silva with his back to goal 6 yards out takes a long throw-in, gets pulled to ground and the ref doesn't seem to think that was a foul.

54' - Casey is sniffing for a goal, but Bendik keeps making critical stops.

61' - Pushy pushy, shovvy shovvy.  No bookings but the ref appears to be having a symposium on behavior.

65' - Earshaw puts a long cross over the box, finding Silva on the other side who tries to snap-kick it back into goal, but nothing.

67' - YELLOW - Agbossoumonde goes down for taking out the three players.  Jack, Mack and Ernie are all fine.

69' - Philly pressures with some keepy-uppy in the box and it sits at the feet of unmarked Le Toux who puts the ball into the river behind the ground.

For those that don't know, 'the river' is Philadelphia's version of 'the Food building'.

71' - GOAL - MacMath clears the goal, picked up at half by Morgan who pops it over the backline and beautifully chipped by EarnshawMagic!  Something out of nothing! (it's just a song...)

73' - SUB - Osorio comes in for Silva.  Well, better than seeing Bostock, all things considered.

74' - YELLOW - Ephraim goes into the books for pushing and shoving a Philly player trying to make a throw in.  No less the gamesmanship that Philly has participated in so far.

74' - YELLOW - O'Dea tackles from behind.  That was a fair booking.

81' - YELLOW - Bendik for time wasting.  I guess...

85' - SUB - Bostock comes on for Earnshaw.  Why not, he's ran his ass off.

87' - Kleberson has a go from the edge of the box and Bendik goes full extension to stop that one.

88' - RED - Morgan gets his second yellow for a weak call.  50-50 collision in the air.  Terrible call.

89' - Ensuing free kick Bendik doesn't quite catch it, but gets bailed out by the ref.  Jack, Mack and Ernie interfere with Bendik gathering the ball and pokes it in.

5 minutes of extra time

90+2' - Corner kick pinball finds the foot of Casey who fires it from 8 yards out and Bendik stops another one.

90+3' - GOAL - Not fair.  Just not fair.  Ball floats across the box and finds the trio of Jack, Mack and Ernie (which only looked like one guy) unmarked who pokes it past Bendik.

90+7' - Kleberson sends Antoine Hoppenot in on goal and Bendik charges out and stone cold stops him.


Man of the Match : Bendik without question. You cannot put a reasonable argument forward for anyone else on the pitch.  Possibly the league. I wanna see him in the FIFA13 Ultimate Team of the Week as players have done less to earn that honour.  Morgan has played very well, and Earnshaw too.

Goat of the Game : The ref.

Ref Rating : 2 out of 5.  He should've been a 1, but he handed us the point by disallowing the 89th minute attempt.  I didn't like the challenge on Bendik, but he didn't have enough control for me to feel he was fouled on, but I am not a ref.  The second yellow on Morgan was a terrible call but calling a goal-line foul might have been an attempt to restore balance (which is arguably too late after that many cards.

Revised Ref Rating : 1 out of 5.  Self-argued the officials down a point after further review.

I Am Not The Gaffer But... : nothing.  Originally felt that one of the carded players should have come off, but with the early injury, Nelsen couldn't afford to spend it on one of them.

First half was boring, second half was fantastic television... Saw enough positives from Ephraim that I couldn't write anything disparaging about him, so that's a plus... O'Dea looked like he was doing his best Eckersley impression because he seemed to be everywhere on the pitch... Never one to give props to MLS for something, but I will give them props for their free streaming match of the week, even circumventing blackouts.  It was amusing to be able to hear the director of the match giving direction throughout the match... Toronto looked composed.  They were far from perfect but you can see the chemistry starting to truly take place... Pro : cheap drinks.  Con : running commentary only on BlackBerry Messenger.  Not the same.

 :: SPONSOR ::

Player Ratings : Bendik 10, Russell N/A [Richter 6], Agbossoumonde 6.5, O'Dea 7, Morgan 7, Lambe 6, Silva 6.5 [Osorio N/A], Hall 6, Ephraim 6, Braun 6, Earnshaw 7 [Bostock N/A]

@ignirtoq is starting a fansite when this show starts up.  Probably a tumblr account.  Is a fan of puppets as evidenced by his love of Muppets, Avenue Q and the latest episode of Community.


  1. I have coached for years and also have had some ref and discipline panel training. He was a horrible ref and seemed intent on showing yellow to all.
    However he disallowed the first Philly goal and was totally correct in doing so.
    It is in Law 12

    The goalkeeper is considered to be in possession of the ball:

    -while the ball is between his hands or between his hand and any surface (e.g., ground, own body)

    Most fans don't know that one and have all kinds of two handed speculations. Law 12 also states that when a keeper has the ball you can't kick the ball. Bendik has control of the ball 100%. The Philly player also fouls him.

    1. Thank you for the clarification. I stand corrected. I always assumed that control was hands on the ball. Then the ref truly was bastard. I think the play-by-play monkeys I was listening to clouded my understanding.

      One more law misinterpretation from me and you'll be a columnist. :)

  2. We must have been watching different games because between both teams, that was mindnumbing. The numbers of errors for pro players was staggering. I've seen better play in a city metro league. Awful soccer. Simply awful.

    The TFC keeper made some key saves. Apart from Bendik, Earnshaw and O'Dea stood out and that was it. I don't know where you get the notion that TFC were "composed" because that equalizer was of the same variety we seen umpteenth times from different editions of this team in the late stages of a match.

    1. The comparison of this side being 'composed' isn't against other sides, but against previous versions of TFC, up to and including last week.

      This side isn't built to take over the world, but at least take over their own ground first. Baby steps and all that.

  3. Agreed. That was shite game, especially for TFC. Really no different from what I saw in the Mariner Error except that their is a top notch poacher not named Koevermans making a difference.

    Offensive gamechangers to support Earnshaw are desperately needed here.

    1. This midfield has been suspect from day one. My concern is that Bostock and Ephraim have the pedigree and potential yet don't deliver. Lambe disappears far too often. Hall and Dunfield, statistically, are solid but lack any real creativity to make something happen.

      Silva has shown some bright spots, Osorio seems confident with his limited time to shine, Russel is played out of position at left back and Bekker has almost been a non-issue.

      Just happy Earnshaw is a fast bugger...

  4. Not a TFC supporter (Revs) but watched this match and can't agree with two above comments. No TFC are not suddenly world beaters but to compare them with the Mariner clubs seems unfair.

    No one was afraid to see the Mariner-led TFC come to town - Nelsen has at least installed something that makes them capable. An interesting work in progress.

    1. No one was afraid of a Mariner-led side. I'm sure we heard the ball boys giggle once or twice at their 'style' of play.

  5. Jack Mack and Ernie.

    That right there is a special kind of genius. well done sir.

    1. Finally someone mentions it! That shit is comedy gold!!!

      Thanks for being there for me...

    2. you're welcome, it it comedy gold. so simple and obvious when you hear it, but totally not something that occured to me at the time.