Now that was exactly what we needed! Take the initiative early and kill any hope that TFC ever had of snatching a result. Despite the goals and despite most of the important attacking cogs sticking the ball in the net (God, I really wish that the dwarf could have bagged one!), there were a few worrying moments and things that need to be ironed out. In the end, 4-1 is the type of result that we needed to get some momentum building. So what did I see?
* Emilio got the first and his long-range blast set the stage for the second, but he continues to be somewhere South of sharp on breakaways. Here's hoping that he rounds into form as the season marches on. Quaranta also impressed. He re-opened his account for the club, and showed a lot of heart and effort to boot. Up 3-0, I saw him lunge for a ball and tap it back to maintain possession. Warms the heart, it does. Niell really showed what he'll bring as a late game sub, splitting defenders and dashing in behind for balls over the top. Unfortunately, he still can't finish the chances he finds on his plate. Unlike, say, the Godfather of Goals, who shows up as Niell is scampering frantically around the box, takes the ball off his foot, drags it across his body, and dumps the slow roller into the corner past a despairing Sutton. Hope the little guy was taking notes.
* Gallardo opened his account as well, and I'm really hoping that the goal will settle him down a bit. I just have this feeling that he's trying too hard to hit the killer ball, and it's hurting DC's possession game. How many times did he give the ball away when we're up 2-0 with a man advantage and just need to work it around and make the Canucks chase us a bit? But hey, I did get to hear for about the thousandth time already this year that he played for Argentina at the '98 and '02 World Cups!
* There were times when I was freaking myself out by anticipating Soehn's moves. I almost felt like I was playing Football Manager. At the half, I'm bemoaning the fact that we're giving TFC too much possession and wondering if we should go to three in the back and pack the midfield since TFC isn't attacking with more than 2-3 and isn't getting wide at all. Lo and behold, we come back from halftime in a 3-5-2 with Burch (prone to stupid cards and already on a yellow--smart move Tommy!) taking a seat. My other halftime thought was that we should yank Gallardo after an hour to rest him up for Pachuca on Wednesday, where he'll be key to whatever effort we can mount. And, hey presto, the late fifties come around and out comes Gallardo (to be fair, I though that it would be Stratford instead of Dyachecko). Shortly after Gallardo goes out, and we're sitting done and dusted at 3-0, I'm pondering the havoc that Niell might cause against a worn out TFC defense. And yet again, Tommy hears my psychic call. Weird!
* Thanks to MLSLIVE.tv, I got to enjoy this one in Maple Leaf Vision. Of course, right off the bat, I'm thinking that this is going to go really badly as they've identified Los Gonzalos as both being from Argentina (I blame Caligiuri and his "hey, they've got the same first name, they must be related" nonsense from the Harbour View first leg). I can't say that the Canuck commentary crew ever made up for that in the meaningful insight sweepstakes, but holy crap were they honest! It took a second look, but they completely agreed with the ref on the Harmse sending off after they got the replay. Then, they go and say that Robinson should see yellow for a bad tackle on Gallardo (he should have, but this is MLS we're talking about), and follow that up by saying that the ref was right to only show Peralta a yellow rather than a red because he wasn't the last man. Who the hell were these guys, and why the hell are Canadians so damn nice and pleasant (when they don't have skates on and a stick in their hands)?
* Giving up that late goal sucked, but TFC deserved at least a goal. They were fairly wasteful with some good chances, and our defense allowed far too much to get through to Wells for my comfort, particularly when we went up a man (or two men as Laurent Robert played his typically useless sort of half-ass game, waiting for free-kicks to arrive so he could exert his dubious "influence" over the match). And TFC were camped in our half way too much in the later stages of the first half. True, we fixed the problem in the second, and were completely dominant, playing some pretty nice keep-away with one- and two-touch passing, but I would have liked to bury the dagger earlier. On a positive passing note, I don't know if it was the extra week or the extra man, but Peralta wasn't doing the long dump upfield this time around, which was nice to see.
* Continuing on with Toronto, I've got a feeling that we're going to be seeing a lot of Jeff Cunningham sulking on the bench like he was at the final whistle. Carver looked none to impressed with Cunningham's efforts on the pitch, and the TFC forward was exceptionally wayward with his finishing for the second week running.
So, all in all, exactly what was needed from the boys in black, though it sure would have been nice to pitch a shutout and hang five on the boys in red. But hey, you can't have everything, can you? We've got some confidence that we can find the net in our house (9 goals in two home matches!), and even if we can't get past Pachuca in the CONCACRAP Cup, at least we're off the mark in MLS.
That's going to possibly be more important than it would seem at the moment. We're going to expend a lot of energy on Wednesday, and we'll have to follow that up on Saturday against an improved RSL on their crappy little patch of fake grass. That field won't play to our strengths, and I doubt the newly arrived boatload of Sudamericanos will figure it out right away. That spells a bit of trouble, so it's pretty important that we got the result we did tonight.