Thursday, March 15, 2012

And the Reds go marching on

What's the precedent for this? None? Oh, right. Silly me.

How is it exactly that Toronto, lovable losers for the majority of the 2011 season, are the last MLS team standing in the 2012 CCL? How is this possible? How is it possible that even Nick Soolsma, the hero with the calmly taken game-winner in the second half, knows LA were clearly better?

He's right, of course. The inclusion of Juninho all but assured LA would win the battle in midfield, which they did. Possession: 60-40 to LA. Passing accuracy: 81-72 to LA. Corners: 9-1 to LA. Attempts on goal: 14-7 to LA. Total passes: 549-364 to LA. Let me repeat that for shameless emphasis: 549-364. 

Perspective: Toronto has never been to the playoffs... in MLS. To say that this is the biggest win in Toronto FC's brief history is to point out that you have two eyes, a nose and a pair of ears arranged in a particular pattern on your head. But where does it rank in CCL knockout history in terms of upsets? It's up there.

What Toronto ostensibly proved is that soccer doesn't have to make sense. I watched some of this game and LA beat its head against the wall in the last 15 minutes in search of a goal only to scramble its brains beyond recognition. Chad Barrett, who came on as an added striker at Tommy Meyer's expense, was putrid, and Beckham's crosses became increasingly more desperate. (Quick side note: has Beckham's ref-pandering gotten worse since last year? I didn't think it possible, but he's come to complete stops in the midst of the run of play multiple times in LA's first three games to gesture angrily to refs. If I was an LA fan, that would set me off.) And the fact that LA didn't actually produce a goal on its own, needing Ty Harden to knock one into his own net, should tell you something.

Yes, Toronto is better than they were for most of 2011, but this wasn't necessarily about that. It was about one of the reasons why this game is beautiful - quick strikes, unexpected goals, insane results. Now we'll go out and watch TFC get murdered in the semis, but it was fun to watch while it lasted. Why am I so confident about that fact? That other CCL game, the one I didn't mention, was a little bit more, ahem... unwatchable.

- Will Parchman


jon said...

" And the fact that LA didn't actually produce a goal on its own, needing Ty Harden to knock one into his own net, should tell you something."

Come on now. When I was watching, it did tell me something, just not what you seem to be implying.

Anyway, credit to Kocic for the swat save (which interestingly, I remember Frei making a similar windmill style swat save a couple years ago) to deny Keane's chip as well as all his other stops that preserved the win.

Will Parchman said...

What is it you think I'm implying?

LA bossed this game. They created a multitude of chances and were the very definition of wasteful. 14 shots and only 3 on target? Not going to get it done in any universe. You may hope to bag one from that effort, but you certainly can't expect it.

LA's back line is proving that the attack can't afford not to hit on its chances this year. That was kind of my point.