Tag Archives: Greg Vanney

The Less than Grand Rapids: Dropping 2 points in the 6

Cris Payne - Toronto FC/mlsfemale
Official Toronto FC Reporter

By Cris Payne // @crissypayne

Saturday, July 22: 1-1 Draw

Song of the Match: Bodies by Drowning Pool

I may not have explicitly stated this, but let’s all accept that I had taken a vow of silence until Jay Chapman got his first MLS goal and move on, shall we? There’s something bittersweet about it when, just 3 days before, I sat at my keyboard to angrily tap out—with stills as evidence—just how he was robbed by a shoddy offside call in the New York City FC game. No matter now, our boy has done it and he did it at home! My exaltation could be felt throughout the south end. He made us all proud.

I will also reiterate a common theme I’ve seen tossed around the Toronto FC circles over the past week, which is if Jay had have been able to finish out the game we would have walked off the pitch with 3 points instead of 1. He was my clear vote for Player of the Match and in his absence the team fell a bit in their graces and we conceded a goal on a bad turnover from Armando Cooper. It wasn’t, however, without a plucky performance from Raheem Edwards who came on as a sub and tried his utmost to save the game. Needless to say the Canadians boys did me proud that day, even if the result didn’t.

Not for the first time, I find I have to prevent myself from writing an entire article about one of our Canadian prides, but I will take a short reprieve to complain a little. I speak from a place of complete bias but the refereeing was, to put it lightly, deplorable. I have never seen a team waste so much time writhing on the ground in apparent pain with the ref doing little to prevent it or to fairly allot stoppage time accordingly, despite the protests of our players.

Colorado Rapid fans I wish to remain on good terms with, please cover your eyes – but to be frank if that were my team I’d be embarrassed by that display of bad sportsmanship. That is not how you beg for a point, not in my house. But apparently in ref Guzman and co.’s books that is how you rustle up a point and it doesn’t even count towards injury time. Maybe because he knew as well as we did the “injuries” were questionable.

Of course the draw is not to be attributed solely to the histrionics of the Colorado players in the final 10 minutes. We were lackluster at times and we could have put the game to bed in the first half with half a dozen clear cut chances we couldn’t capitulate on. Nonetheless, it left a bad taste in my mouth to end the game on such a sour note when we had brought on a Raheem Edwards who was ready to run his way back to a win.

Since early July our squad has been depleted by players away on International duty for the Gold Cup, as well as, injury and during that time we managed to pick up 5 points in 4 games and maintain a 2 point lead at the top of the table, albeit with a game in hand. To be honest, I’m not too sure what to make of that.

TFC fans have been positively spoiled of late, and I’ve come to expect wins nearly all the time. However, we managed to keep our feet beneath us with a squad that didn’t have a lot of experience playing together and some of the greener players were able to show us what they’re made of.

I hope manager Greg Vanney remembers that down the line, after a second season of Jay Chapman showing us just what he can be capable of after a run of games. I remain optimistic and I know a lot of us were worried about dropping points during this stretch. At any rate we survived it, our squad is slowly returning to full strength, and we are prepared to continue fighting for our place at the top.

It’s an exciting season with Toronto FC; we did the unprecedented in offering a coach a contract extension (no seriously, we’ve never done this before. Moving on up! [source]) and we boast what has been called the deepest team in MLS history (thanks, Greg![source]). We recently reached a franchise record of 6 consecutive wins [source], and the Montreal Impact are doing abysmally. For once in our lives, it’s easy being Red. So here’s to the coming weeks, closing out the summer on a high, and enjoying watching some quality football without our jackets on!

P.S. A huge congratulations as well for Ashtone Morgan. As I was on my vow of silence (ahem), I didn’t get to congratulate him before but I am extremely happy for him for the goal and for the blessing of being able to watch Ashtone come back into himself as a player. Another Canadian who has me welling up with pride at the moment!

P.P.S. Welcome back Nick Hagglund. I love you and missed you, Nicky!

Featured image courtesy: @torontofc

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @crissypayne

Check us out on instagram! @mlsfemale

Too Little Too Early

Cris Payne - Toronto FC/mlsfemale
Official Toronto FC Reporter

By Cris Payne @crissypayne

Saturday, April 15: 2-1 Loss

Song of the Match – Down by Marian Hill

It’s little surprise to anyone that our first loss of the season comes in the absence of Drew Moor. I wish Drew and his family all of the best and I’ve heard that the initially terrifying prospect of him being diagnosed with a heart condition may be something that can be dealt with within a couple of weeks. (source) It sounds like no one, including Drew, expects him to be out for long but I’ll breathe easier once he’s back.

Despite the absence of the Toronto FC rock in the back line, my personal favourite Nick Hagglund did a great job in Drew’s role, and although we were caught sleeping a few times, particularly on the header goal, Nick and Eriq Zavaleta both put shifts in and helped to lead the team from the back. It just, unfortunately, wasn’t enough for us as we fell 2-1 to Columbus Crew. It definitely smarts a bit more than it should served up by the team in yellow we play for the Trillium Cup.

Besides a defense that wasn’t as airtight as usual (again!), we also should have been scoring goals. We looked strong early on and managed to open the scoring but our midfield looked lacklustre especially in the second half; we quite obviously lacked in pace. It seems one of the things we are still tinkering with is the right midfield dynamic.

Having said that, what on earth is it going to take to see Jay Chapman get a minute? Any minute? Several of them preferably? We’ve yet to see our Canadian-born midfielder on the pitch this season and its high time we give him a try. He’s been dependable in the past and I’d love to see him get the chance he deserves. In the coming weeks I hope Greg Vanney explores our options and gives these young guys such as Raheem Edwards and Jay Chapman more opportunities.

It was a big night in Toronto and the Toronto Maple Leafs win helped to ease the pain of the Columbus loss. It made it easier for fans to look forward to change instead of the performances of the past few weeks in which we were barely holding on. Perhaps we should take a leaf out of our hockey team’s book and field more young players. It seems to be working wonders for them.

My Man of the Match talisman will be gratefully handed over to Nicky, as it’s been a pleasure to watch him develop under the direction of Drew Moor. Between Nick and Eriq we have a promising centre back pairing that I think we can eventually feel safe with. Even after conceding two goals I will comfortably say that our 4 or 5 at the back, however you look at it, were our strongest assets on the field. It’s only a matter of time before we start scoring goals again and our defense plays a series of games without a hitch. I believe in them.

Finally, my condolences to Greg Vanney and his family, it seems it’s been something of a difficult week at Toronto FC. It can’t have been easy juggling preparations for the game and even coaching it while dealing with a loss in the family. (source) It really feels like overall our team suffered a number of losses this week, not just on the field, and my only hope is we can move forward from here. To those who are going through some big changes in life at the moment, I will keep you in my thoughts, and to the rest of us: onwards and upwards.

Featured image courtesy: thescore.com

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @crissypayne

Check us out on instagram! @mlsfemale

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