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TFC vs CHA – Post Game Thoughts
March 8, 2009, 9:53 AM
Filed under: Carolina Challenge Cup, Charleston Battery, Toronto FC

In our first opportunity to watch Toronto FC take the pitch this season, we saw some very encouraging stuff. Since this was only a pre-season match, I’m not going to focus on the result, but rather focus on the way we played. A few weeks ago Carl Robinson mentioned that he told John Carver after a pre-season match that the team looked like “red arrows going forward.” We definitely saw some of this tonight.

There was no Pablo Vitti tonight, who has apparently picked up a minor knock. John Carver elected to rest him, moving Dwayne De Rosario up front alongside Chad Barrett, and starting rookie Sam Cronin at right midfield. Here was our starting eleven:

Stefan Frei (GK), Marvell Wynne (RB), Adrian Serioux (CB), Kevin Harmse (CB), Jim Brennan (LB), Sam Cronin (RM), Carl Robinson (CM), Amado Guevara (CM), Rohan Ricketts (LM), Dwayne De Rosario (FW), Chad Barrett (FW)

Here is a match report from Check Toronto FC TV tomorrow for match highlights and post-match thoughts from John Carver and some of the players.

DeRo, Guevara, Ricketts, and Barrett

Our season kicks off in exactly two weeks and the attacking play we saw tonight from the four people mentioned above is better than some MLS fans will see from their teams all season (that means you, Rapids fans). It gets better – their chemistry will improve as the season goes on. Oh, ya…there’s more – we have yet to see what they can do with Pablo Vitti in there.

The match was a little slow at the start, with both sides sharing the possession pretty evenly. After Charleston’s penalty though, I thought we tore Charleston apart, creating had numerous chances to retake the lead. Even when we scored in the second minute, it was Amado Guevara assisting Dwayne De Rosario. How often do you think we’ll see that this season?

The four of them had some great link up play, with nice and quick touches. At times they had the Battery’s defenders chasing shadows. They may have not had spectacular games individually, but as a whole, I thought they did quite well. I realize this wasn’t happening every time we had possession, but it’s something to be very encouraged about.

Oh, and by the way, Dwayne De Rosario was awesome. In other news, the sky is blue.

It’s a good thing it wasn’t Velez…

Adrian Serioux, making his pre-season debut for us, gets sent off just before half time after receiving two yellow cards. If it had been Marco Velez, we’d be calling for his head, screaming at Mo to get in a new defender. Serioux’s first yellow card was pretty bad – he gave the ball straight to an opponent, and then tugged him down in the box. The second? Pretty bad as well. It was for a late sliding challenge on a Battery attacker who was really heading nowhere. Okay, I’m over it. In truth, it kind of made the match more interesting. We got to see our guys not only hold on with ten men, but win with ten men. It’s not all bad, right?

Stefan Frei and Sam Cronin

These are two rookies thrown into the starting lineup, one which (according to the live-blog on the club website) John Carver had judged to be one of our strongest available. Don’t think they didn’t know this match was being webcast – they knew we were here watching. They also gave very good accounts of themselves. Frei was hung out to dry on the penalty, but looked confident whenever he was called upon after that. Sam Cronin was forced into an important central midfield role after Adrian Serioux was sent off, and he didn’t miss a beat at all. Props to these two.

Ten men? No problem…

I was a little concerned about the result when Serioux was sent off. It’s only pre-season, but losing still sucks. In that second half tonight, you couldn’t one team had an extra man. Robbo slid back into the defense, with Ricketts, Guevara, and Cronin forming a three-man midfield. DeRo was allowed to roam in between the midfield and Chad Barrett, the lone striker. It was awesome to see that we were still creating chances and holding the ball. That said, in the second half, Charleston played mostly trialists who hadn’t trained much with the team.

Source: Click Here

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