The Battle of RedTFC lose to the Red Bulls in a match that began as a Toronto dream and ended as a New York fairytale (well, Jersey, anyway)
by Sonja Missio | Tuesday, October 02, 2012
The first piece from the new Soccer Newsday column 'Red Dawn Rising' by TFC celebrity fan & writer Sonja Missio covering the boys in red from Toronto and the wider TO & Ontario soccer scene. For TFC coverage, opinions & analysis be sure to follow Sonja on Twitter @SonjaMissio and look out for her column here on SN.
Thierry Henry is really good and a veritable joy to watch. He’s so good, in fact, you almost can’t get mad at him for (practically) single-handedly beating Toronto on Saturday night. Still, I’m going to have to be a little mad. Or, truthfully, downright furious.
You see, when I was offered my own column for Soccer Newsday, I was thrilled. I was given the opportunity to write about Toronto FC in a professional manner, while being able to express my views and opinions on the sport and team for which I have quite the affection. And then, during my first weekend on the job, I experienced something no fan should ever experience – ‘my’ first game and Toronto loses by three.
Do not get me wrong—I’ve watched Toronto for many years and, therefore, I am used to the losses. I’m accustomed to the despair and the pain and leaving a game feeling completely empty. I have even gotten used to the last-minute goals (two in Saturday’s game!). The masochism is all par for the course when you watch Toronto. However, it’s one thing to watch your team play badly, and another to watch the opposing team play phenomenally.
In retrospect, the entire game was foreshadowed within the first few minutes of play, when Luis Silva attempted what looked like a perfect shot on net, only to hit the post and bounce out.
But this failed attempt was enough to rally TFC together to take an early lead in front of a sold-out crowd at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Ryan Johnson scored a beauty of a goal, into the top-corner, after it perfectly dipped under the crossbar in the 6th minute.
However, any Canuck celebrations would be short-lived, as Henry would use the rest of the game to show how good he still is.
And, have I mentioned? He remains really good.
New York quickly got the equalizer not long after the Johnson goal. In the 13th minute, Markus Holgersson scored from a Henry corner – a theme that would continue throughout the rest of the night.
New York’s second goal was another assist from the captain, resulting from a beautiful pass from Henry to Kenny Cooper in the 27th minute. Credit where credit is due, this was thanks, in part, to a collision between TFC defender Richard Eckersley and goalkeeper Freddy Hall.
It’s moments like this one that really demonstrate why New York is currently second overall in the Eastern Conference and Toronto sits dead last.
The superior skill of the team-from-not-actually-New-York would be seen again just minutes before the end of regulation time, when another Henry-to-Cooper assist resulted in New York’s third goal (and Henry’s third assist, and Copper’s second time on the scoresheet).
The icing on the cake came, however, when Cooper returned the favour to Henry. In the dying minutes of stoppage, Cooper assisted in an extraordinary Henry screamer from the top of the box. After the goal, Henry pointed to his captain’s badge, soaking in the standing ovation alongside his team.
So, where does this leave Toronto?
Exactly where they were before they started.
Between injuries, management changes, player turnover, having missed playoffs for the sixth year in a row, and all-around ‘just not being good enough,’ Toronto fans, players, and management are hoping just to wrap this season up without too much (further) embarrassment.
With two more home games to go (and one away), in the regular season Toronto should focus on saving face. And saving fans.
NEXT UP: Toronto FC vs D.C. United at BMO Field on October 6th at 13h00 EDT.