Sunday, May 27, 2012

Point(s) And Match

Mood: Whee!
State of Mind: Relief combined with whee!
Location: Mildly jubilant supporter couch

1 and 9 is the new black.

Feel that weight being lifted from your shoulders TFC fans? The one marked "pointless" that's been pressing down and getting heavier each week? It's gone! No really, stand up a little straighter, stretch and there - feels good doesn't it? Was it all that we could have asked for? No. But going into the international break with two wins (and two clean sheets) can't be viewed as anything other than a good thing for the team, the fans and the players.

But oh boy it wasn't pretty was it? Danny Koevermans wanted the team to win ugly and well, he certainly got his wish. That was an ugly win (and an ugly goal) against a terrible team that almost managed to eke out a draw against our Reds. But in the end they got their point across (or put the ball into the net if you like) and finally gave us the victory that we've been patiently (well, most of the time) waiting for the entire season.

It was a hot, humid day at BMO yesterday which had me kicking myself for still not owning a proper pair of sunglasses and for not bringing a hat - that's what I get for abandoning my shady West Stand seats for the lure of the cynics circle in the South End - the sacrifices I make to get new material for the blog.  Even with the sunshine and the actual possibility of a win, the south stands were not nearly as full (read: lots of empty seats) as I expected as the game began - I don't know why this shocks me every game but it does *grumble*. The mood by those around me could be described as subdued hope mixed with "0-10 here we come". Most of my companions were optimistic enough to predict a win with only a couple dissenters in the ranks (foolish dissenters) but really, can you blame them? The same starting XI as Wednesday were on the field with the exception of Luis Silva who took the place of the injured Eric Avila. And in what must have been the most expensive bench in all of MLS (perhaps it's gold plated?) saw Koevermans, Soolsma and Eckersley get the call to chill out on the sidelines.

Let's break the game down shall we? 

First Half:

TFC started out pressing but looking just a touch disorganized and certainly not as crisp as they were on Wednesday night - were they tired, hot, bored or just playing at their usual level? However some sort of focus and attacking play was taking place which led to this: 

1. Zzzzzzzzzzz
2. Johnson just misses
3. Johnson just misses
4. Johnson just misses (sensing the beginning of a theme here)
5. Zzzzzzzzzzzz
6. Lambe just misses
7. Plata just misses

And somehow we go into half time with no score when in reality if this team (read: Johnson) had any sort of finishing ability the score would have easily been 2-0 at the least. Yes, we've made many jokes about the invisible force field around the opposition goal but when you let chances like that go begging? No wonder we're 1 and 9...

Second Half:

TFC must have had milk and cookies at the half instead of water and orange slices as they come out flat. The suddenly scrappy Union take advantage of the momentary lull to prove that they too are capable of missing what seem like guaranteed goals when Union midfielder Michael Farfan with a shot that beat Kocic but fortunately hit the cross bar. The hilarity continued as Henry takes his turn at missing - seriously it was comical how many times they almost scored, honestly - if you can't laugh you'll end up crying and we've had enough of that supporting this team.  

With Philly continuing to press Danny Koevermans and Nick Soolsma were (finally) brought on several minutes apart and in the 88th minute the dynamic Dutch Duo teamed up when Soolsma (still doin' it for Suarez) did some very nice work to keep the ball in and fed to Danny who eventually (amazingly) managed to get it into the net! Pandemonium!! Seriously it felt like we had just won the league title so happy was everyone around me. Hugging, jumping, yelling, grinning, joyous supporters everywhere. Danny K leaping into the south stands in jubilation - what a great moment.  Then came those nervous minutes as we waited with dread for the patented TFC last minute goal concession; only it never came! 3 long blasts of the whistle and Pandemonium again!!  One of the best moments I have had at BMO in a long time; Voyageurs Cup notwithstanding of course. It was just so wonderful to be surrounded by happy (and yes relieved) fans; to see the same looks on the faces of the players as the long, pointless drought had finally come to an end. 

There are still many questions to be asked about our Reds: Why can't anyone finish? When will Danny K. actually reach match fitness? Why is Joao still starting matches - seriously he a sub, a good sub but a sub - he injects such energy into games, save him for the second half! How injured is Torsten Frings?  Can the backline actually become a consistent, cohesive unit?  And of course, will Aron Winter still be coach after the international break is over? But those are all questions to be answered next week (or the week after, or the one after that) - for now my fellow fans let's just bask in back to back wins, remember the joy we felt yesterday and just enjoy the moment.  And now I think this calls for a dance break:

TFC Til I Die

Link It Up Baby: And for the second time this week some positive post-game posts for your reading pleasure - The Yorkies, Waking The Red and Red Nation Online.

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