First and foremost, a win's a win. When we remember the spring in the fall, the record book will tell us Toronto FC won its first two home games and earned its first clean sheet against Seattle. Three points on the board and goal difference improved. Case closed.
In October, will we care to look beyond the score line from a wet and windy day in April? Will we remember the minutiae which culminated in a 2-0 victory for the home team? Did we witness the first signs of a new modus operandi or did TFC merely catch a tired opponent on an off day?
The next six months will provide the full answer. The next six days may provide a brief snapshot of the season to come. Clearly, the Toronto performance showed improvement. But by the same token, it was far from faultless.
Here are some of the pluses and minuses I observed from the broadcast booth. As ever, I'm interested in whether we saw the 'same' game, so please add your voice below.
Dwayne de Rosario is deservedly MLS player of the week. He took his chance with clinical efficiency and unselfishly set up O'Brian White, who finished with aplomb. Toronto's unbeaten home record stretches back to June 2009 in a league where home wins are essential in pursuit of the playoffs.
Both Toronto goals were the direct descendants of defensive mistakes. Ossie Alonso gifted the ball to De Ro for the opener and Tyrone Marshall's careless giveaway allowed TFC to catch the Sounders on the break for the clincher. The home team offered little goal threat of its own creation.
Stefan Frei was on top of his game for the shutout. Not for the first time, the young Swiss goalkeeper proved his agility with a string of important saves.
From Day 1, he has been an impressive shot stopper and, in general, was in command of his penalty area.
Frei's heroics covered up the cracks at the back. Had two first-half headers been on target, which they should have been, the Toronto goalie would have been totally exposed. His second-half saves serve only as evidence of how deep and how often Seattle was allowed to penetrate.
Preki's new look team is becoming tough to play against. The 'hard-work-first' mantra is beginning to get through to the dressing room. Every player put in an honest shift and attempted to win his individual battles. Ball possession and retention in the second half was the best I've seen so far in 2010.
On another day, with another referee, Toronto would have finished short-handed. Nothing wrong with employing a midfielder enforcer, but Martin Saric has got to learn how to control his aggression. He has three yellow cards in five performances. A suspension is only a matter of weeks away.
Toronto FC managed the closing stages efficiently. After building a two-goal lead, there was no sign of the 2009 late-game jitters which turned wins into draws and ties into losses. Even after the withdrawal of the captain, the home team kept running for the full 94 minutes.
Schmid gambled and lost
Sigi Schmid gambled and lost. The Seattle coach made wholesale changes from the team which had played against Dallas just three days previously. While it is true you can only beat what is placed in front of you, Toronto FC beat a Sounders team some distance below full strength.
A second successive home win breeds confidence going forward. What Preki wants is a team which can show a consistency of performance sooner rather than later. He will demand nothing less when Toronto FC begins its defence of the Canadian Championship against Montreal.
The visit of the Impact will, I expect, be just as feisty as the challenge from Seattle. Both teams must go about their business in a professional way.
Rivalries are wonderful occasions for the fans, but the players must not allow their hearts to rule their heads in the heat of battle.
Recovery time is in short supply for the next few weeks. No sooner will Montreal have come and gone than the Toronto players will have to rise to another occasion. A road trip to play Real Salt Lake, the MLS Cup holders, will be another big test of stamina and resilience.
The TFC front office continues to plead for patience as a new coach attempts to make a team out of a bunch of relative strangers. Of course, it takes time. But how much time is time enough?
Only time will tell.
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