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Toronto FC earn some redemption in home opener versus Portland

Javier Martina with Man of the Match trophy
Javier Martina with Man of the Match trophy
Les Jones/Covershots

For the second time in as many weeks, TFC turned in a two goal performance. This time they forcibly made it enough to grab the three points.

An early goal by newcomer Javier Martina meant Toronto wasted little time proving to a good crowd on a cold day they plan on keeping to their commitment of giving something to cheer about this season. A solid defensive effort made that goal stand up until Martina notched an insurance marker in the 70th minute that froze out any Portland Timber designs on an equalizer.

There seems to be a confidence and flow up front that hints putting the ball into the net won’t be a problem. Keeping it out at the other end is looking for assurance.

After leaking four weak goals in last week’s season curtain raiser at Vancouver, a few changes to the defensive alignment reaped dividends. Adrian Cann was moved back into the middle of the back line where he is tougher and obviously more confident. Mikael Yourassowsky took over at left back and showed understanding and capacity to relieve the defense of pressure by bringing the ball forward with pace and contributing in the attack. Performance of those two helped change the attitude at the back, demanding improved concentration from Ty Harden filling in for an injured Nana Attakora and Dan Gargan, who was guilty of a few mental mishaps the previous week.

Any time a team scores a couple goals on the road as the Reds did last week, it should be enough to steal a point. After that match, Coach Aron Winter labeled the performance unacceptable. In the post match press conference this week the coach said it was nice to get the victory for the home crowd, but said his team must get much better.

“It’s always nice, your first game at home, to win. It was a good victory, and I think if you’re watching the total 90 minutes, we deserved to win. It’ll have to be much better in the future, but the most important thing is this moment, to start out right at home.”

The new coach has been asking, sometimes begging even, for time to turn things around. For some, his team’s effort has bought another week. For others, the signs of improvement already appear to be there.

What do you think? Weigh in with your opinion by leaving a comment below.

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