Saturday, July 28, 2012

They're Baaack!

Mood: Tired but sort of optimistic
State of Mind: 10 days without TFC is too long
Location: Sleepy supporter's couch

Am I dreaming? Did our Reds actually win 3 games in a row for the first time in FOUR years? You're sure I'm not dreaming? Yes! It's a bona fide streak!  Say it with me; "winning streak"...sounds odd doesn't it?  But it sure is fun to say. Seriously, cast your mind back all those days ago...

The weather gods smiled upon the crowd (well, it seemed a bit more crowded than the week before) at BMO as the wind (winds of change? Ok, that's a bit much) blew in and brought us a gift - a fairly decisive win by our Reds. Actually, the only suffering the fans had to do was endure 50-odd minutes of RJ9's stunning inability to finish.

Other than the stunning weather the game started off in typical TFC fashion; no they didn't immediately go down a goal and in fact came out strong. But after Luis Silva was fouled in the box who should step up to take the PK? None other than Ryan Johnson...everyone around me was in agreement - there was no way he was going to make this and he didn't let us down managing to not even put it on net...sigh.

But that second half? That was a hell of a lot of fun wasn't it?  RJ scored! Seriously, I'm not kidding - he put one past the keeper and woot! It's a tie (oh yeah, the other team scored in the first).  And then right in the middle of what is becoming a regular thing (hell it was requested) which is our epic performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody" - OK epic is overstating as we're still forgetting some of the words but it's still awesome - Andrew Wiederman (He da man!) deflected a Silva shot into the net. Jubilation! And that's how it would end. Our Reds with a 2-1 win and a three game win streak to call their own! 

The second half of that game really was a good performance by our Reds.  The continuing strong play of Ashtone Morgan with his ability to send in crosses and the movement and lovely runs of Luis Silva were on display. As was the excellent play of Ecks who put in one of his best performances as a converted CB (hand on Ecks, help is not coming anytime soon). It was a very complete team performance and for me was the first actual sign that things may be turning around for this team. 

This is not to knock the team's performance leading up to that game (or the goals scored) but consistency is key and our boys are seemingly finding a way to consistently score goals and win or fight back in games. Having two different goal scorers two games in a row (neither named Danny) is a huge positive and a hope that this team will not completely fall apart without the our main target man for the rest of the season.

If for some reason you didn't watch that game and/or haven't read any recaps here are your usual suspects: The Yorkies, Waking The Red and Red Nation Online.

Time to turn our gaze to this afternoon's match. This match will be a telling one in terms of seeing how far our Reds have actually come. They've had 10 days off, said goodbye to some players (so long Miguel), said hello to some new ones - Quincy (or Dr. Quincy as I'm calling him) Amarikwa, Eric "The Red Card" Hassli and Freddy Hall (maybe) - come on down! You're the next contestants on the TFC roster! And played some sort of game against some players from England or something in between. *sorry for all those links but I've had a rough stretch and well, these fine folks have written some excellent stuff.*

Coming to town this sunny (and still not rainy) afternoon are the now and forever infamous Houston Dynamo.  Infamous for the "Escobar 3" incident and that awful come from behind draw that they laid on our boys the last time.  Both teams are on a three game win streak and Houston does not have the most amazing record against TFC at BMO. However (always with the however) this game is much different than the Colorado game.  While the Rapids are a team in a steep decline the Dynamo are anything but. They've got Will Bruin (remember him?), Brad Davis and newish DP, midfielder Boniek Garcia; all incredibly dangerous and the first two have long been thorns in TFC's side.  And while TFC have managed to eke themselves out of the MLS basement (thanks to the spectacularly free-falling Timbers - so many jokes, so little time) the Dynamo sit third in the Eastern Conference and sixth in the MLS. Not too shabby and just a bit worrisome for our team as they look to win Four In A Row and put the stamp of respectability on this season.

With two fairly untested new forwards in Wiederman and Amarikwa and Hassli unlikely to see action today, as well as the still injured Jeremy Hall unable to play, we'll likely see the same lineup we did all those days ago against Colorado. I see no reason why Mariner would make any changes unless Adrian Cann did enough in that match against that English team and in training to come back and resume his place as CB. I find it unlikely though and expect to see Ecks and Logan doing their best imitation of a CB pairing yet again.  What you ask? We didn't sign a CB during the transfer window? Sadly no; all kinds of shenanigans appear to have occurred and I will touch base on that tomorrow.  But for now this is what we've got. We've waited 6 years, what's a little longer, right? Sigh.

While this game doesn't fill me with dread neither do I have an overwhelming "they're going to do it" feeling. Do I think they'll compete and not put on a nightmare performance? Absolutely. I expect that this will be a hard fought game and that our boys will show some resilience and consistency of play. But this is a very good team that our Reds are facing and they do not always rise to the occasion when faced with better opponents. This is one of those games that you look at as a watershed moment. Not that a three game win streak for the first time in four years isn't saying something but if this team wants to actually progress, now would be the time to show it.

I of course hope that they prove me wrong and soundly trounce the Dynamo because well, that would be fantastic. I'm also hoping that (Beer Festival notwithstanding) to see a packed house today.  Although the number of tweeps offering up their tickets in the past couple of days seems to say otherwise. As for me, I'll be there as always; anxious, excited and hopeful. Let's do this boys.


Late Links: The Yorkies, Waking The Red (Duncan & James) and Red Nation Online.

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