Saturday had a weird feel about it for Toronto FC at BMO Field. A.J. Derby Jersey . One would think advancing in the Amway Canadian Championship on Wednesday would have left some positive residue in the atmosphere. Team-wise, there was momentum contributing to the positive result, a 2-0 win over one of Major League Soccers glamour clubs, the New York Red Bulls. The energy, or lack thereof around the stadium had another feel entirely. We shall call it the remnants of a history of failure. Some level of disillusionment, distrust, and negativity still float around to a certain degree. A new culture isnt created overnight. And thus, a change in perception is as much a work in progress as the team on the field Three straight league losses heading in, Michael Bradley away on World Cup duty, and an unpopular trade amongst some Toronto FC supporters made for awkwardness. There was tension throughout an unusually quiet crowd, somewhat predictable considering possession stats heavily favouring the visitors while the prospects of another dreaded late goal conceded lingered. The heartbreaking goal against didnt come. Contrary to usual script, it was the Red Bulls Bradley Wright-Phillips with all the wrong moves, missing an absolute wide-open sitter. Simply a brutal miss by MLS top goal scorer. Despite waves of pressure, the Red Bulls put only one shot on target, a testament to Toronto FCs stout defensive structure and blue-collar effort. The commitment shown by the Reds is something to rally around, isnt it? Ill take this work in progress over anything weve seen before at BMO, thank you very much. Four wins through eight matches should be entirely pleasing. The MLS standings are misleading with Toronto FC sitting 7th but playing a league-low eight games thus far. Its the 1.5 points earned per game that tells a more positive tale; tied for the third best rate in the Eastern Conference. Progress. There will be no convincing a fan base to fully commit to a product without reason for true conviction. Apprehension cannot simply be whisked away. The negative response to Issey Nakajima-Farran being traded to the Montreal Impact Friday (on his birthday) came as a surprise. Issey did fine as a member of Toronto FC. But the trade for Collen Warner is not a negative move for footballing reasons. Its the perception Issey was hard-done-by, with he and his agent reportedly not told of the deal beforehand, leading to the player taking to Twitter to call the move "#Inhumane". Perhaps my definition of Inhumane is entirely different. Its this kind of nonsense, the petty name-calling and lack of communication that can easily be resolved and need be remedied. Issey is a fine player, but lacked the defensive team play/awareness demanded by the manager. Issey could have remained a squad player in Toronto, and that would have been fine. Acquiring a player in Warner who can fill a specific role as a defensive midfielder is preferable. The wing positions still need upgrading. That would have remained on the to-do list even if Issey were not moved. The entire deal was blown out of proportion based on perception rather than anything tangible about team direction. So what is Toronto FCs team identity? Although it continues to be asked in the press box and through the rafters, through eight games it seems abundantly clear: a team difficult to break down defensively and one reliant upon the counter-attack. Those looking for expansive, attack-oriented football will remain disappointed for the time being. Thats not happening with this squad as currently constructed. Spare me style points, the 2-0 win was trademark Toronto FC. Here are my five thoughts: 1) The Defoe Effect - Jermain Defoe remains emotional about his exclusion from the 23-man England World Cup squad. Its a tough spot for Jermain. The questions asked about his decision to join MLS playing a role in his exclusion are completely unfair. He was never going to be picked not playing regular minutes at Tottenham either. Defoe was excluded because Roy Hodgson decided to name only four strikers and a glut of attacking midfielders. Is Defoe worthy of selection over Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge or Ricky Lambert? No chance. Thats no disrespect to Jermain. From the sounds of it, the lumbering Andy Carroll is the preferred striker on standby too, putting Defoe sixth in the pecking order. Its understandable why Ryan Nelsen warned post-match, "... England will miss him dearly, I think, come World Cup time." Defoes 12th-minute goal was a thing of beauty: an unstoppable strike after finding space behind the Red Bulls backline (which he did all afternoon). Defoe took one touch before unleashing a shot of the highest quality, top corner. Unstoppable. The power and placement top class, decisive and clinical. Its the type of finish that separates him from most in MLS. Defoe makes Toronto FC a constant danger as long as hes on the field, no matter how the team plays behind him. Make it four goals in just five games for Defoe, while no other TFC player has scored more than once. 2) Moore is More – New Toronto FC striker Luke Moore loves BMO Field. The Englishman scored a hat trick against TFC in a 2007 summer friendly while at Aston Villa. Moore made it two-for-two in games scoring goals at BMO after coming on as a second half substitute in his home debut. Moore capitalized on goalkeeper Luis Robles and defender Chris Duvall colliding, making for an easy tap-in time added on to guarantee the three points. It was a productive 40 minutes of action for Moore, doing well holding up the ball. It must be questioned whether Moore is a preferable option short-term over misfiring Gilberto. The Brazilian missed another clear-cut goal scoring opportunity in the 19th minute. The ball fell to Gilberto on the back post, open inside the six-yard box. Instead of getting his body behind the ball and guiding it into the back of the net, Gilberto lunged and stabbed, with the ball bouncing awkwardly out of play for a goal kick. He has to capitalize on these kinds of chances. Missing sitters as such brings back ugly memories of Chad Barrett or Jeff Cunningham, but even worse because Gilberto is a designated player. The designation matters in our evaluation. Matias Laba was sacrificed by TFC to bring in another goal scorer. Laba could have made for an ideal centre-midfield partner with Bradley. I still stand by the reasoning behind the move for Gilberto – TFC needs goal scorers to compliment Defoe. Can Gilberto be that guy? Its still far too early to make any grandiose proclamation. Thus far Gilberto has let down the faith of his general manager and head coach. More is required, or Nelsen should just roll with Moore for the time being. 3) Orr is More – Bradley Orr has become Mr. Utility for Toronto FC. He has played four positions for the club, and as he puts it, is trying to be a good "squad player". There will always be a fit for a player like Orr, who was an absolute asset Saturday reading the play and helping out his backline. Orr rarely got forward from his central midfield position, and when he did he assisted on Defoes opener. Orr dropped deeper as the game wore on, basically sitting on top of Steven Caldwell and Nick Hagglund. He was like another defender, in position for help and support. Despite his standout performance, Orr is not suited to play the position full-time. His distribution isnt good enough for the holding role. This is the position Nelsen envisions for Warner. Your guess is as good as mine where Orr will land in his merry-go-round of positions. Nelsen seems ecstatic with Mark Bloom at right-back, Orrs natural position. So Orr will have to remain patient for his chances and continue to be that good squad player. Hes an asset Toronto FC will continue to call upon. 4) Hagglund over Henry – The rookie out of Xavier has given plenty for his head coach to think about. Hagglund was preferred Saturday ahead of Doneil Henry at centre-back. Diving in for challenges and a lack of discipline have plagued Henry in recent weeks. Nelsen needs a more reliable, steady Henry to play alongside Caldwell. Credit Hagglund, who took full advantage of the opportunity. After some early jitters giving away possession twice cheaply in the opening minutes, Hagglund settled and his confidence grew as the match wore on, making better clearances and in control as the Red Bulls pressed. Its hard not envisioning Henry as the regular starting centre-back partner for Caldwell for the foreseeable future. Perhaps its best to have Henry watch a few more games from the sidelines, focusing on his defending tendencies in training, and not forced into game action until hes corrected his issues, namely staying on his feet and finding better defensive positioning on one-on-one defending. Hagglund is a serviceable option for the time being and beyond. 5) On the Defensive – The 12th-minute goal was a blessing and a curse for Toronto FC. Playing with an early lead allowed TFC to fall back defensively for the duration, taking few chances and allowing the Red Bulls to dictate the flow of the game. Parking the bus wouldnt be the best way to describe it, but its not far off. The defensive shell and rotation by the fullbacks in support has been phenomenal, reflective in conceding just nine through eight games. Playing such a defensive game comes with risk. Sitting back far too much has cost Toronto FC conceding late in matches against Colorado, New England, and Dallas. The commitment remains high but there isnt enough of a concerted effort to get forward, attack, and find that all-important second goal. New York maintained 59 per cent of possession; a terrible number for TFC playing at home. Better ball retention and consistent build up is a necessity as the season wears on. This also has everything to do with getting Defoe involved as much as possible. The ability thus far to grind out results has revealed all kinds of character in the team. But its a fallacy to expect this kind of play will bring similar results over the long-term. Toronto FC pays a visit to reigning MLS Cup Champion Sporting Kansas City Friday night at 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt. (TSN/TSN 1050 Radio). Gareth Wheeler can be reached on Twitter: @WheelerTSNgareth.email@example.com Brendan Langley Jersey . There was little fanfare, though, when the Yankees captain was taken out of his final regular-season Subway Series game in the eighth inning. Jeter watched the last four outs from the bench, pulled off the field during a double switch Thursday night as the Yankees held off the Mets 1-0. Shane Ray Jersey . More importantly, he is trying to show his young teammates the Colorado are still post-season contenders. He hopes winning a series at home was a fresh start. http://www.broncosproauthentic.com/Black-Friday-Tom-Jackson-Jersey/ . He was signed to help with depth to the receiving corps because of the loss of Shamawd Chambers to the 6-game injured list.The biggest gun among unrestricted free agents was dealt just as the deadline approached, but the ultimate price sure appears to be a relative bargain. Numbers Game looks into the Canadiens securing the services of Thomas Vanek in a trade with the New York Islanders. The Canadiens Get: LW Thomas Vanek and a conditional fifth-round pick. Vanek, 30, was considered the prize of the pending unrestricted free agent class as the deadline approached. Hes scored 271 goals in 645 games since coming into the league in 2005-2006. Since his second year in the league, Vanek ranks fourth with 246 goals and hes done it with all sorts of different linemates between his time in Buffalo and, for much of this season, with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo on the top line for the New York Islanders. Vanek isnt a great possession player, some years better than others, but is so skilled and plays in an offensive role that his on-ice shooting percentage is among the best in the league over the past five seasons. In Montreal, Vanek should give the Canadiens offence a jolt, as Max Pacioretty, with 29 goals, is the only Hab with more than Vaneks 21 goals this season. Adding Vanek will give the Canadiens offence more depth and its conceivable that a finisher like Vanek can continue to produce while also elevating the production of his new linemates. A spot alongside Tomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk might be a decent fit to start. An unrestricted free agent in the summer, Vanek brings a cap hit of more than $7.1-million. There have been several rumours this season about Vaneks desire to end up in Minnesota, and that may be where he goes as a free agent, but Vanek also acknowledged that a winning team sure helps in the decision-making process. If Vanek can play a significant role in the Canadiens playoff push, then perhaps Montreal will be a destination that he considers as a long-term home, but that expectation had better come with the understanding that Vanek is going to command a massive contract as an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Islanders Get: RW Sebastian Collberg and a conditional second-round pick. Jake Butt Jersey. Collberg just turned 20 a couple of weeks ago and was a second-round pick in 2012. Hes a skilled forward with good speed who has 18 points in 75 Swedish Elite League games over the past two seasons with Frolunda HC. Hes put up a dozen points in 13 games at the past two World Junior Hockey Championships. Its hard to project a young forward getting limited ice time in Sweden to a big role right away in the NHL, so Collberg probably needs time in the AHL, which ought to be fine for the Islanders, who have quite a few young forwards coming through the pipeline. One of those young forwards, Anders Lee, the 23-year-old rookie pro out of Notre Dame, could see quite a bit of action in a scoring role down the stretch. Lee has four goals and six points in six NHL games (this year and last) and, with Vanek gone, there is room for Lee to show that he should be a part of the plans for next seasons team. The conditional picks are based on whether or not the Canadiens make the playoffs. If they hold their current playoff spot, then the Canadiens swap their second-rounder for the Islanders fifth-round pick. If the Canadiens fall out and miss the playoffs, then the deal will just be Collberg for the rental of Vanek. All told, the price doesnt seem to be nearly enough a return for the Islanders, who were out of the race early enough that everyone knew they were going to deal Vanek, but somehow appeared to overplay their hand because even if Collberg is a good prospect, that doesnt seem to match the price paid for lesser players. As a result of that incongruous fit between the Islanders asking price and what the market was ultimately willing to pay, it sure appears to have provided an opening for Montreal GM Marc Bergevin to take advantage and upgrade his team at a very reasonable price. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Cheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys China Wholesale Authentic Jerseys Cheap Jerseys 2018 Cheap Jerseys 2019 NFL Jerseys Wholesale ' ' '
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