Recapping TFC and Montreal’s first preseason games of 2013 By Steven Sandor Posted on February 10, 2013 1 0 606 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter The games from the Walt Disney World Classic are archived on YouTube, so that offers the chance to not have to spend a prime Saturday afternoon watching any Toronto FC and Montreal’s preseason matches. (No offence meant, but after nearly two decades of covering pro sports, I’ve learned that there isn’t anything quite as overhyped as preseason games — and the first game of a preseason campaign is often the worst of them all. Early preseason matches usually bear no resemblances to the game that we love. Being able to take them in at my own leisure helps divde up the “work” part of the job). So, what can we take from Toronto FC’s 1-0 loss to the Columbus Crew? • That, with some youth and quick legs up front, Toronto FC could actually help out its beleaguered backline. With Eric Hassli now off to FC Dallas and Danny Koevermans still not back to game speed, TFC used youth up front. And first-round draft pick Emery Welshman did well in the first half, chasing ball after ball and not allowing Columbus’s centre halves the time and space to make easy passes out of the back. Welshman also drew a dangerous free kick with a clever run. But, by applying decent pressure up top, Columbus couldn’t find easy passes to the middle of the field. • That Stefan Frei needs to visit some kind of shaman and wipe away some kind of bad juju he’s acquired over the last year. Backup Joe Bendik was inserted into the match at the 45-minute mark, as Frei had to go to the hospital after being kicked in the face by Crew forward Ryan Finley. Finley blew by TFC central defender Gale Agbossoumonde and ran towards a well-played through ball from Federico Higuain. Frei came out of goal to clear the ball, and the two players collided. Frei missed almost all of last season to injury. • Had this been a regular season game, Glauber’s headed 30th minute goal would never have happened? Why? Because, earlier in the half, Glauber hacked down TFC’s Luis Silva not once, but twice, with late nasty challenges. He saw yellow for bringing down Welshman. With a referee whose looking at the game with a regular-season mentality, Glauber sees yellow with either of the Silva challenges — and is off. Glauber is interesting — he’s big, he’s a commanding presence in the middle of the Columbus defence and, if he continues to play as he did in his first game of the season, he’ll be seeing more cards than Daniel Negreanu. • Neither of TFC’s centre backs looked very good on the Columbus goal. Glauber scored after Gale Agbossoumonde failed to track the Crew man’s run in the box. But the corner on which Glauber scored should never have happened in the first place. A long throw was headed away by TFC defender Darren O’Dea, giving Columbus the corner. But O’Dea was under no pressure and had Frei standing right behind him. That’s a ball where the goalkeeper needs to take charge and O’Dea needs to concede the space so Frei can catch the ball. And, as for Montreal’s 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City? • Really hard to take much from this game. This looked like a game between two teams who were each in its first game of preseason, for sure. Maybe it was the Florida humidity, but this game was played at a walking pace for long stretches. Fullbacks on both sides passed up chances to join attacks. Despite the goals, this was a very, conservative game. I was looking forward to see Andrea Pisanu, who the Impact picked up on loan from Bologna, would deal with going from the technical Italian game to the athletic North American game. But the 31-year-old, who came on in the 69th minute, was largely invisible in a game played at a trot. • Graham Zusi, who played for the United States in its recent 0-0 draw against Canada, was both a hero and goat for SKC. His 25-yard bomb opened the scoring, a great moment of brilliance in a game that had gone through 18 minutes of safe passes and little in terms of stretching the teams. But, he was also at fault on the Impact’s winning goal. In the Montreal half, he lost the ball to Maxim Tissot, and wasn’t able to recover. The ball went to Brazilian trialist Eber, back to Tissot, who then made a piercing long pass for Andrew Wenger to run onto and score. • The fact that both Montreal goals were scored on simple long passes through the middle that caught SKC flatfooted were proof of just how static this game was. Montreal tied the game right before half when Patrice Bernier pounced on a turnover and played a long ball for Marco Di Vaio to run onto — and finish. Need more? Because MLS puts these games into the public domain, we’ve embedded them here for your… ahem… enjoyment.