Tag Archive | "Johnston"

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Twelfth man helps TFC to home win

Posted on 21 April 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Six days after a win in Los Angeles, their highest-scoring away trip yet, Toronto FC made it two in a row with a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Both sides were on a high going into the match, with Salt Lake having hammered D.C. United 4-0 last week for an historic victory of their own. With confidence running high going into the BMO Field encounter, Salt Lake boss Jason Kreis had warned of the intense atmosphere at the Toronto stadium. He was proved right as the sold-out crowd got firmly behind the home side in their 2008 stadium opener.

Six months of pent-up emotion was in evidence from the 20 219 in attendance, and the crowd inspired their side to take the game to Salt Lake early on. John Carver fielded a 4-5-1 similar to the lineup he used at LA last week with Rohan Ricketts coming into the side on the right wing.

Along with Laurent Robert and Amado Guevara, Ricketts was threatening the Salt Lake defense, but Danny Dichio was largely isolated up front without an out-and-out striker beside him. Central midfield was the scene of a battle between Kyle Beckerman and the Toronto duo of Carl Robinson and Maurice Edu.

Toronto’s pressure was drawing a series of fouls from their visitors, and referee Silviu Petrescu called a free kick just outside Salt Lake’s goal when Matias Mantilla hauled down Guevara on the half hour mark. Guevara and Robert stood over the free kick while Robinson tried to disrupt the wall, and with Robert expected to blast one, the French winger took a low strike that took a deflection on its way through the throng of players and trickled past Rimando.

The goal, Robert’s first in a TFC shirt, came right in front of the south end, and the Ultras groups led the celebrations that echoed through the ground. With their first home goal of the season behind them, Toronto kept creating chances, but Marvell Wynne’s left-shooted shot was palmed away by Rimando just minutes after Robert’s goal.

Salt Lake started stronger in the second half with Toronto’s confidence starting to seep as they tried to defend their lead. It was unfamiliar ground for the Canadian club, who were on the losing end throughout much of last season.

The visitors had three corners just after half time but were kept at bay throughout the second half. TFC goalkeeper Greg Sutton and centerback pairing Tyrone Marshall and Marco Vélez did their part in shutting out Salt Lake, with Vélez particularly vindicated for a slow start to the season.

Toronto sit at .500 for the first time in the club’s history and will look to push past that mark this Saturday. Kansas City visit BMO Field in the second of a five game home stand, and if the rumour mill is to be believed, Olivier Tébily may be available for Toronto FC by that time. The French defender is widely expected to sign for the Reds in the coming days.Other new arrivals may include youth director Chris Cummins and former MLS defender Tim Regan, who is expected to take up a head scout position with Toronto. Early reports indicated that Regan would take up a technical director role with the club, but it is believed that such a job title — increasingly popular in MLS — would conflict with Director of Soccer Mo Johnston’s duties.

While Cummins had worked with TFC coach John Carver at Luton, Regan was an old college of Johnston, who coached the American defender at New York three years ago. Johnston drafted Regan in Toronto’s expansion campaign, but before a ball was kicked in 2007 Regan was back at New York for a second spell. He played just three times last year and was waived by NYRB, going on to attend graduate studies in North Carolina.

Regan is likely to head up a revamped scouting network in Toronto with a focus on American and Latin American players as the club seeks to establish itself both on and off the pitch in their sophomore season. In the stands, things are as healthy as ever, and the players and support staff alike will be looking to reward that support with maximum points through the present run of home matches.

Game Capsule

Real Salt Lake (1-2-1) vs. Toronto FC (2-2-0)
April 19, 2008 — BMO Field

Scoring Summary:
TOR — Laurent Robert 1 (unassisted) 31

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Ian Joy (Andy Williams 62), Matias Mantilla, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Kyle Beckerman, Dema Kovalenko (Yura Movsisyan 79), Nathan Sturgis (Carey Talley 27), Javier Morales, Kenny Deuchar, Robbie Findley.

Substitutes Not Used: Tony Beltran, Fabian Espindola, Jamison Olave, Chris Seitz

Toronto FC — Greg Sutton, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Marco Velez, Jim Brennan, Rohan Ricketts (Jarrod Smith 84), Maurice Edu, Carl Robinson, Laurent Robert (Todd Dunivant 81), Amado Guevara, Danny Dichio (Jeff Cunningham 90).

Substitutes Not Used: Brian Edwards, Kevin Harmse, Julius James, Andrea Lombardo

Misconduct Summary:
TOR — Marco Velez (caution; Pushing, Holding) 73
RSL — Chris Wingert (caution; Reckless Foul) 78

Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Referee’s Assistants: Amato DeLuca; Kermit Quisenberry
4th official: Paul Ward
time of game: 1:50
attendance: 20,219
weather: Clear -and- 75 degrees

Comments Off on Twelfth man helps TFC to home win

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Looking ahead: TFC Season Preview

Posted on 25 March 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Fans of Canada’s sole Major League Soccer franchise may have been hoping for more firepower in their squad ahead of the 2008 season opener, but the truth is that the team has nowhere to go but up.

The 2007 campaign saw TFC finish at the bottom of the league standings but with unprecedented success off the pitch, regularly selling out BMO Field and setting a benchmark in fan support for the rest of the league. With their expansion-season woes behind them, the pressure will be on Toronto to improve on last season’s 25-point mark and to make their debut in the MLS playoffs.

TFC have a new head coach in respected English tactician John Carver and have improved in defence ahead of Saturday’s season-opener at Columbus, but even the most ardent supporter will tell you that their goals for 2008 are modest in comparison to established heavyweights like Houston Dynamo and D.C. United.

The Reds can look to another young club, Chivas USA, as a model for what they hope to accomplish in the coming seasons. In their expansion year in 2005, Chivas struggled and finished dead last in the Western conference. One year later, they had climbed to 3rd in the West and qualified for the playoffs. Last year they stormed to the top of their conference before again losing in the quarterfinals of the MLS Cup. This year, many pundits have identified Chivas as the team to beat in the Western Conference (see ASN’s Chivas season preview here).

Along with general manager Mo Johnston, Carver will be more keen to emulate Chivas’ model rather than that of another 2005 expansion side, Real Salt Lake, who just pipped TFC to 12th place in the overall standings last season. A strong performance on Saturday in Columbus would be the perfect way to start Toronto’s own ascendancy into the MLS elite, while a resounding victory in front of up to 2000 traveling supporters would be a great way to get the fans on Carver’s side.

Greg Sutton will wear the gloves for Toronto FC once again this season, and will be backed up by draft-pick Brian Edwards. Sutton had his critics at the beginning of 2007 but was often hung out to dry by a porous backline. Last season’s on-loan deputy Kenny Stamatopoulos returned to Tromsø I.L. in Norway, a club that has the distinction of being the northernmost top-flight team in world football.

TFC captain Jim Brennan and Todd Dunivant will alternate duties at left back and left midfield, with youngster Gabe Gala expected to build on his cameo appearances last season. For his part, Brennan was optimistic about the coming campaign in a discussion with MLSnet.com.

“I think we’re going to have a very good season,” he told the club’s official website. “We had a taste of MLS last year, and now we have our feet on the ground and we’re looking to take the next step of getting into the playoffs.”

In central defense, Tyrone Marshall and Andrew Boyens are joined by Puerto Rican Marco Vélez and draft picks Julius James and Pat Phelan. Marvell Wynne is expected to take up the right back position once again, and is set to terrorize his left-sided opposition throughout 2008 in between a trip to the Beijing Olympics with USA.

Midfield reinforcements have been recruited in the form of Tyler Rosenlund and ex-LA Galaxy hardman Kevin Harmse, while rumors persist about the status of Amado Guevara and triallists Martin Brittain and Victor Pacheco. In central midfield, Carl Robinson and Maurice Edu will be backed up by the new arrivals as well as youngsters Joey Melo and Tyler Hemming, while Trinidadian veteran Collin Samuel can be deployed on either wing.

Danny Dichio is virtually guaranteed a first-team spot with the club until his retirement, already having gained legend status with the opening goal, red card, and last goal of the 2007 season. Jeff Cunningham is likely to partner him up front, and if both men can stay healthy, the potentially lethal partnership could see Cunningham score his 100th MLS career goal. The American striker is currently four away from a century after just three goals last season, and accordingly, he’ll wear 96 as his shirt number for the 2008 campaign.

After supporting their team through thick and thin (mostly thin) last season, Toronto fans will be backing Cunningham to regain the form that saw him claim the MLS Golden Boot in 2006. With a strong 2008 the goal for everyone associated with TFC, the fans will hope that Cunningham’s biggest worry in a year’s time will be how to reflect 100+ goals in a shirt number.

Comments (4)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here