Following last week’s scoreless draw against Los Angeles Galaxy at BMO Field, TFC coach Preki Radosavljevic told reporters he would be turning his attention on generating some offensive action from his team. That it was time. Since the beginning of pre-season training camp Preki’s concentration has been on building a strong defense, touting the benefit of building a tough team to score against reputation. His approach finds the Reds in a higher place in the standings than they have ever been, but their football has not been pretty to watch.
Not losing can earn a team a respectable place in the middle of the table, but no team has ever taken a title by not winning.
Toronto fans had been waiting since May 22 for a goal to cheer when Dan Gargan met a corner kick with a well placed header to draw even with Houston Dynamo in the 84th minute last night. In the end, the large Canada Day crowd had to be content calling a 1 – 1 draw a big improvement over the lackluster scoreless affairs they endured through June.
You do not just throw a switch to make the kind of change Preki is talking about.
The problem TFC now faces is pulling off a change heavy with players signed because of their defensive nature while others with offensive flair have been cut from the team.
Toronto came out Thursday night with the now formidable Attakora – Cann pairing in central defense, Nick Garcia on the left, Dan Gargan out right and the expectation of both making penetrating offensive runs up the flanks. Garcia, who, after a dreadful start to the season has only just recovered his confidence just does not have the pace nor the stamina for such an assignment. Gargan, who was one of the first to figure in the scoring way back in the beginning of pre-season, did that working from a free flowing midfield position in tandem with Martin Saric. Last night he had the rather cumbersome Jacob Peterson ahead of him.
Julian de Guzman was given liberty to work higher in midfield to add some creativity to the attack. It seemed though, that when he did, forward Dwaynne De Rosario tended to withdraw as if lacking confidence to leave young Amadou Sanyang without central midfield help. Chad Barrett, continues his struggle to prove himself worthy of automatic inclusion in the starting line-up up front, but then there really isn’t anyone around to challenge him for that key position.
This team needs an offensive addition and they need it fast.
There are a couple of roster slots still open for General Manager Mo Johnston and his assistant, Jim Brennan to fill with a pure striker and quality, creative midfielder. Preki needs them to avoid duplicating the situation he created at Chivas – a team trapped on a points plateau of little excitement – where his teams were unable to deliver on ownership’s preference for entertaining futbol.
The positive so far is TFC has never been so consistent. The negative? The Reds have never appeared so void of creative ideas.
The red card issued Julian de Guzman as he continues his up, down, frustrating, loose-your-head season does not make matters any easier for coach Preki to find an instant fix. There are now even more serious questions whether designated player signing JdG can be counted on to be part of the long term solution.
Sounds like the “keep working hard” motto has now landed squarely on to management laps.
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