Forum

Polak sneaking in from  

  RSS

(@jsq0713)
Reputable Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 270
13/02/2019 2:48 am  

Toronto FC started the season with back-to-back wins for the first time in franchise history with a 1-0 victory over DC United in front of a sellout crowd at BMO Field. Russell Bodine Jersey . Jermain Defoe put forth another Man of the Match performance scoring the match winner in the 60th minute. Defoe jumped on a poor defensive clearance after a Gilberto shot on the break and slotted into a wide open net for his third goal in two matches. It was a feel good day for the long-suffering Toronto FC supporters. The poor weather held off, and the sun even came out shortly before Defoes goal. The noise, the atmosphere, the smiles were back at BMO Field and theres good reason to believe more good times are on the horizon on the lakefront in downtown Toronto. Off-season hype has turned into regular season production. The match lacked the speed and tempo of the opening game win in Seattle but had similar combative elements and superior team shape, boding well for further progression as this group of new players continue to gel.   Here are five thoughts on Toronto FCs home opening victory. Determined Defending – The group was simply dominant, worthy of the clean sheet. Proven MLS goal scorers Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola were forced to fall deep to get involved in the play. Pushing attacking players far away from Julio Cesars goal has been trademark through two matches. Absolutely no space was given. The partnership of Steven Caldwell and Doneil Henry has provided stability the team has lacked in recent seasons. They have proven an ideal duo to lead from the back – experience paired with sheer athleticism. Theres a lot to like. The off-season addition of Justin Morrow flew under the radar, yet the left-back has been among the teams best, a rock down the wing. And Mark Bloom has maintained positional integrity, solid on the night. Although DC United held 63 per cent of possession, TFC limited their opposition to only one legit goal scoring opportunity and two shots on goal. Last week in Seattle, the Sounders only had two truly good scoring opportunities. Keeping the possession to the outside is critical, with Caldwell and Henry being monsters in the air in defending crosses. It must be said goalkeeper Cesar hasnt been caught out of position, creating calmness at the back. Overall, the early season returns as a team defensively have been superior to expectations. Imperfect Pitch – The long and brutal Toronto winter made for soft, muddy and bumpy conditions, making it difficult to play the ball on the deck. Toronto FC took very few chances in their defensive end, choosing to clear more often than maintaining possession. This will have to change as the season goes on. Possession is critical to dictating the tempo and flow, while bringing Torontos skill players into the game. There was little flow Saturday. Im not sure if TFC will ever be a dominant possession team. Good news however, they are always dangerous on the counter. They have pace down the wings and creative movement up front through pacey strikers. No matter the conditions, this team will create chances. Give kudos to the team for adapting from one extreme on turf a week ago to succeeding on a soft, slow, choppy surface in Toronto. Defoe/Gilberto Potential – The duo is a work in progress but there is much to get excited about. Defoes resume and early production speaks for itself. Head Coach Ryan Nelsen commented post-match, "If I was Roy Hodgson, Id pick him in a heartbeat" when asked about his potential World Cup inclusion. If he continues on this kind of form, Hodgson will have a tough time keeping him out of his England side in a tournament all about timely goal scoring. Gilberto was always the mystery heading into the season. The 24-year-old designated player is a relative unknown commodity, but did score 14 goals in Brazil last season. His pre-season prediction of scoring 25 goals may be too ambitious, but he showed boatloads of promise in his Toronto FC debut. His movement off the ball is intelligent. And although 510, the striker plays much bigger, regularly getting his body in between the ball and his defender. His set up on Defoes chance off the post in the 42 minute was a well-timed run finished with proper service low to the front post. Gilberto doesnt speak English: another hurdle to developing chemistry with Defoe but both players have natural instincts. This relationship will be fun to watch as it develops.   Referee Inconsistency – The replacement officials a week earlier did a better job than Silviu Petrescu and his crew Saturday. Regular MLS officials went back to work this week with the same inconsistencies in their play call that has frustrated MLS onlookers for years. Petrescu was a step slow throughout the match (literally when bowled over by Michael Bradley), but its a lack of consistency that will drive players crazy. In the second half, Alvaro Rey was taken down after beating two defenders down the left wing – no card was shown, yet moments later down the right hand side, Davy Arnaud was cautioned for taking down Jonathan Osorio on a similar play. Players, coaches and fans alike need to be clear on how a match is going to be called. The overall performance Saturday was subpar. Bravo, Bradley – Toronto FCs number four covers an incredible amount of ground. The pressure he puts on the ball sets the tone, giving little time or space for his centre-midfield opponents. There wasnt much room in the centre of the field Saturday, but Bradley expertly used what little he had, creating both short and long using his wingers to near perfection. Its the edge, blue-collar mentality that will easily win over supporters. The clash of heads with Arnaud that sent the DC United midfielder out of the game was a late challenge. Bradley was lucky not to be cautioned. But it was a challenge hed never back out of. Its not in his DNA to back out of 50-50 balls. The commitment is true leadership by example. With a gash split open on the back of the head, Bradley received some quick treatment, had a bandage cover the wound, and was back on the field, bossing the play and being combative as ever. The American international will continue to be the straw that stirs the drink. Its hard to imagine Toronto FC now without his presence. Lets wait until June to deal with that problem. gareth.wheeler@bellmedia.ca@WheelerTSN Tremaine Edmunds Bills Jerseys . Both of Padakins goals came in the second period while Zane Jones added a single in the first period for Calgary (13-6-4). Hitmen goaltender Chris Driedger finished with 30 saves for the shutout. Phillip Gaines Bills Jerseys . - This is just the warm-up act for 18-year-old William Nylander.ST. LOUIS -- Mike Smith is used to facing plenty of shots, so this was nothing new. Smith made 37 saves and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored 56 seconds into overtime to give the Phoenix Coyotes a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night. Coming into the game, Smith had seen the most shots of any NHL goalie (516). St. Louis added 39 more to that total, including 13 in the third period. "It was nice for me to play like that tonight and bail the guys out," Smith said. "Ive let in a lot of goals on nights where the guys have bailed me out, so its nice to be on the other end of the spectrum." The Coyotes made Smith a winner early in the extra session. Ekman-Larsson, who had an assist on Phoenixs first goal, took a pass from Mike Ribeiro and beat goalie Jaroslav Halak with a shot from just inside the blue line. "It was a great play there by Ribeiro," Ekman-Larsson said. "I saw (Shane) Doan was coming in from the corner so I shot it, and it was perfect." With the Blues swarming in the third period, Smith was at his best. He allowed a goal to Roman Polak that tied the game but made 12 big stops -- including an outstanding glove save on Derek Roys shot from the slot with just under 8 minutes left. "That was a great move; the puck was kind of bouncing and he was able to get it between his legs," Smith said. "It was more luck than anything. I think it just ended up in my glove. But Ill take it." By comparison, the 39 shots were a slow day at the office for Smith. He made a season-high 48 saves in a shootout win against San Jose on Nov. 2 and stopped 41 of 42 shots in a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 29. "I dont love it," Smith said of the heavy workload. "Its just the way things have worked out so far. Obviously, we want to tighten that up and get those shot totals down. Right now, were just happy to get the two points.&quuot; His coach, Dave Tippett, was not entirely pleased with the Coyotes performance. Josh Allen Bills Jerseys. "There were parts of that game I liked; other parts I really didnt like," Tippett said. "We didnt have enough players competing at the speed and level we needed to, but give our goalie credit. He played very well." David Moss and Mikkel Boedker had the other Phoenix goals. Maxim Lapierre and Polak scored for the Blues. Halak made 16 saves. Alexander Steen had an assist to extend the longest active point streak in the NHL to 11 games. Steen, who has 10 goals and four assists during that stretch, has the longest scoring streak for a St. Louis player since Keith Tkachuk went 12 games in 2002-03. "We worked, we competed and we created scoring chances," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We had some people that were really, as the game wore on, became major players in the game for us. But we didnt outwork the goalie." The Blues trailed 2-1 going into the third period, but tied it at 2:49 when Steen found Polak sneaking in from the right point and hit him with a cross-ice pass. Polak beat Smith high with a shot from the circle. Lapierre gave the Blues a 1-0 advantage when he tipped home Jay Bouwmeesters shot from the point 5:53 into the game. Moss tied it 2:56 later when he beat Halak with a wrist shot from the right circle. With less than minute remaining in the first period, Blues defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk got caught pinching in, leading to a 3-on-1 break. Boedker took advantage when he converted a centring pass from Rob Klinkhammer with 31 seconds left in the period to give the Coyotes the lead. NOTES: Phoenixs Martin Hanzal, who was tied for the team lead with 14 points, was a late scratch due to an undisclosed illness and is day to day. ... Steen played his 300th game with the Blues. ... Phoenix is 8-0-0 when leading after one period


Quote
Share: