The biggest improvement that Martin Rennie has made is reducing totally unnecessary goals against. As a new franchise last year, the Caps did surprisingly well scoring but far too often in tight games were the ones to blink and give up naive goals that could be put down to back individual defending. Now Toronto FC seem to be the ones doing this.
TFC are off to a horror start. If it goes any longer their season will be a write off. Their game last night against Real Salt Lake reminded me of some of the goals I remember the Caps giving up last season. Particularly the game winning goal for Salt Lake, scored in injury time. Here’s the video:
Why, when you are desperately clinging to a tie that will bring you your first point of the season and you’re defending a deep corner is Logan Emory (#2) allowing Morales (#11) to pull off him far enough to be able to turn without taking a touch and face goal. To make things worse he’s beaten with a bloop touch over his head that allows the dangerous ball into the box. Ridiculously, after this debacle, he has the nerve to remonstrate and try to blame Avila (#8).
All Emory has to do is pressure from the back and not allow Morales to turn. He has Avila there to pressure the thrower if the ball is played back. To allow Morales to pull off that far, in that position, that late in the game is a sign that he’s either mentally switched off or physically knackered. Neither, at this level, is a good enough excuse. He probably yelled for Avila to pick up Morales but that’s irrelevant. In this situation he should have tracked Morales until he saw that Avila recognized the shout and did actually pick up the striker. He stopped coverage and Avila never picked the runner up which allowed him to turn off the throw and play the ball into the box after lifting the ball over Emory’s head with his first touch.
Defending is essentially a fairly long list of simple tasks. But they all need to be done quickly and completely each time right to the final whistle. Good attackers latch onto lapses like this and punish you. Net result? Another sloppy goal conceded by Toronto FC that sees them remain pointless after seven games.