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#1 2018-06-13 03:04:23

lw789
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Registered: 2010-10-12
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d Jones going the wrong way, but the

"Not the prettiest game but we earned that point." – Mark Bloom (@markbloom21), on Twitter That one sentence sums it up, while at the same time, leaving so much out.  Another workman-like effort on a difficult night for Toronto FC earned the team their first draw of the season in a 2-2 tie at Sporting Kansas City.  The first half was among the worst 45 minutes of football you will see in Major League Soccer.  The lone highlight/lowlight of the first half was Kansas City defender Igor Juliao vomiting on the field.  Seriously...that was it...and those watching had the similar nausea suffering through the awful display. The second half was an entirely different game - Talking points...goals...a red card...and controversy.  Through it all, 10-man Toronto FC goes home with a point in hand and thats four points in two league matches without Michael Bradley, for those counting at home.  This wasnt the Sporting Kansas City team that won the MLS Cup last December.  Top players Graham Zusi and Matt Besler are off with Bradley and the US Mens National team.  Kansas City coach Peter Vermes was without his five - yes, five - first choice centre-backs unavailable through international duty, injury or suspension.  Matters got worse with fill-in centre-back Chance Myers forced from the match in the 36th minute through injury and former Toronto FC midfielder Jacob Peterson moved to the backline.  Anyone with experience watching Peterson over the years understands that defending is not exactly his forte. TFC manager Ryan Nelsen dealt with his own selection issues.  Nelsen was minus three would-be regular starting midfielders.  Debutant Collen Warner was forced to start at outside left, hardly his position of strength.  Toronto struggled to maintain possession, yet again – a recurring theme this season.  The field was tilted and, post-match, Nelsen complained all big decisions went against TFC.  Any Baldomero Toledo-officiated match will leave one feeling that way.  In fairness to Toledo, the 63rd-minute sending off of captain Steven Caldwell was most likely the right call – a high, studs-up challenge to the upper leg of Toni Dovante – and the 84th-minute penalty decision against Doniel Henry can easily be debated on both sides of the claim.  Toledos decisions seem to be match-defining more times than not.  This time around they should be considered harsh but fair. Yet, despite it all, Toronto FC outscored Kansas City 2-1 over the last 30 minutes of football while down a man.  Make it two chances, two goals and two weeks in a row with Toronto FC scoring in stoppage time, flipping the script after years of conceding late.  It will go down as a crucial point earned when it comes to eventual and expected playoff contention.  You must pick up points on nights like these if you expect to be left standing when it comes to the post-season.  Its a huge away point from a team with plenty to work on, but resiliency and push-back to be proud of.Here are my five thoughts on the 2-2 draw: 1) Warner Wins - Its incredible how segments of the Toronto FC fan base made up their mind on Warner before he ever touched a ball wearing red.  "Not good enough" was a common sentiment.  Suggestions as such were absolute garbage.  The midfielder was solid in his TFC debut, growing into the match as it wore on.  Warner was uncomfortable wide left, frequently moving inside.  The team was far too narrow over the first 45 minutes.  That isnt all on Warner.  What we saw from the start was a player comfortable getting stuck in and one who puts himself in proper defensive positions.  The newcomer showed his true worth after a double-change in the 53rd minute moved him inside.  His physical presence was an asset and Warner played a massive role on TFCs first goal, not only winning the ball in the middle of the park, but also finishing his run, getting up the wing to provide Jermain Defoe another option on the break.  The ball ended up on Luke Moores foot, scoring with a proper left-foot finish.  But Warners run forced a defender to him and created a mismatch with Peterson late to recover on Moore.  Warner will never be a flashy player, but every team needs honest, specific role players to be relied upon.  Nelsen boasted about Warners physical presence post-match.  "There was a reason we wanted him," said Nelsen.  Nevermind the detractors, the addition of Warner is welcome and true rewards of the trade will come after Bradley returns, giving him the freedom to get forward and attack. 2) Super Subs – Nelsen continues to get beat up by many for his "tactical" approach.  Some may not like his 4-4-2 and team ball possession and consistency in attack must get better for the team to improve while getting the most out of the talented Defoe.  Its far too early to make baseless claims that Nelsen doesnt know what hes doing.  The head coach has only had a full squad at his disposal once all season, so its some patchwork stuff going on.  What I do like is that Nelsens in-game management is growing by the game.  Its been much better in recent weeks and particularly on Friday.  Kyle Bekker and Alvaro Rey really struggled on the night and the midfield was a mess.  Nelsen took off both players in the 53rd minute, bringing on Daniel Lovitz and Moore in their place.  Lovitz went wide left and Moore straight-up front.  Gilberto moved to a more outside role, almost turning the formation into a 4-3-3.  It was a good move that entirely changed Toronto FCs shape.  Even after going down a man, the shape was far better and more effective than anything over the first 45 minutes.  Its moves like this that clearly suggest Nelsen gets it.  Hes still young in his managerial career and is figuring out which buttons to press.  I see progress here.  Now, he needs a better-rounded team to get the most out of.  Added quality at the outside midfield positions would certainly help. 3) Breaking Brad – In back-to-back games Bradley Orr has done a job for Toronto FC, from man-of-the-match consideration last Saturday to scoring the equalizer in stoppage time on Friday.  Nick Hagglund did well to play the ball back inside the box after a scramble off a free kick and Orr exposed an inexperienced centre-back duo, finding a soft spot in limited space in front of the goalkeeper and keeping his cool to head home his first goal for Toronto FC for a great finish by a guy emerging as an important squad player.  Look for Orr to partner Hagglund at centre-back for next weekends league match against Columbus.  He deserves to stay in the team and Hagglund deserves to be beside him – a good combination of veteran presence and youthful exuberance.  Caldwells upcoming one-game suspension opens the door for Orr to slide back to centre-half.  Orr isnt ideal at centre-midfield and is better suited on the backline. 4) Challenging Challenges – Lets start with Caldwell - he knows better than to fly in for such a clumsy, unnecessary tackle around midfield that saw him sent off.  The captain made the argument that, perhaps, it should be just a yellow.  Any time you challenge studs-up high on an opponent with clear intent, youre asking for trouble and Caldwell knows better...and he is.  Caldwell will now most likely play Wednesday night in the Canadian Championship against Montreal.  Fortunate for Caldwell, his team picked him up and earned the point.  On the other hand, Doneil Henrys untimely challenge leading to the Kansas City penalty and second goal is all-too- familiar.  Its the fourth penalty on the year given up by the 21-year old.  The penalty call itself was debatable as Henry came flying across the box to help cover in defence.  Juliao played the ball past Henry and crashed into the defender.  It was no surprise that Juliao dropped to the ground and the penalty was given.  Juliao would have never got to the ball and I wouldnt have given a penalty.  The collision was true, but the intention was not.  I would have preferred discretion used by Toledo on a call inside the penalty area.  An instant Twitter poll with over 50 respondents (@WheelerTSN) showed 52 per cent believing that the penalty was rightfully given.  Henry was far too rash in his challenge, sprinting out to the player without any wherewithal to put his body in a position to react.  Lumbering into a player just inside the 18 almost never ends well, no matter the intent.  It was inelegant from Henry.  More discipline and sound defensive one-on-one positional play is essential for the player to grow.  I assume he will start alongside Caldwell Wednesday in another chance to prove he has the discipline to play at this level. 5) Cool Foot Luke – It was written in this space last week Nelsen must consider starting Moore over Gilberto for the time-being and Moores second goal in as many games reinforces the argument.  The Englishman finished the type of chance Gilberto has let gone to waste in recent weeks.  The suggestion Gilberto should head to the bench short-term isnt intended to bash the Brazilian.  His work-rate and effort remains desirable, but strikers need do more than simply work hard.  There needs to be proper link-up play and the ability to finish.  Both need improvement.  It looks as though Defoe and Moore have complimentary movement off the ball.  Its tough to entirely tell with TFC playing so defensive with not nearly enough attacking play.  Starting Moore over Gilberto isnt about killing his confidence - its about doing whats best for the team.  Make him earn his way into the squad.  It is not preferable, but designated players can be sent to the bench.  Claudio Bieler has been banished to the bench at Sporting Kansas City and they keep rolling on.  Nelsen has to do whats best for the team and thats not simply handing a spot to Gilberto in the starting XI because hes a designated player. Toronto FC welcomes the Montreal Impact to BMO Field Wednesday April 28th at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt for the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship. Matthias Ginter Germany Jersey . And follow TSN.ca right through Deadline Day for all the updates. From Pierre LeBrun While Anaheim GM Bob Murray said earlier this season he was not going to trade Jonas Hiller despite the fact hes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, some sources have told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun that Murray might be willing to move another goalie. Antonio Rudiger Jersey . Joel Embiid was nearly unstoppable in the paint in the second half, and Naadir Tharpe seemingly couldnt miss. http://www.germanysoccerpro.com/Blank-G … rsey/.com) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quickly found themselves a new offensive coordinator, and one thats quite familiar with the NFC South. Leon Goretzka Jersey . -- Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, shot a 2-under 69 on Tuesday to finish first in stroke-play qualifying at the Womens U. Mesut Ozil Jersey . The third-seeded Bouchard, from Westmount, Que., was coming off a semifinal appearance at the French Open. She took the opening set before the unseeded American came back for the 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.EDMONTON -- The Los Angeles Kings needed to shed some rust heading into the playoffs and the Edmonton Oilers proved to be a perfect solution. Marian Gaborik had two goals and an assist and Martin Jones made just 17 saves to record his fourth shutout of the season as the Kings snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-0 victory over the lowly Oilers on Thursday. "After coming off a bad start (Wednesday) night we talked about having to be ready to play from the start and we did," Gaborik said. "We got up 1-0 quickly and that for sure helped us. I thought we controlled the game all 60 minutes." Anze Kopitar also scored for the Kings (46-28-7), who had won just one of their previous five games. "We wanted to have a good start and obviously scoring in the first minute helps," Kopitar said of his goal just 27 seconds in. "After that, we were pressing pretty hard and had some pretty good offensive zone time and brought the game home pretty well with no stress in the end and thats what you want. "Right now we just want to sharpen our game for pretty much a week from now so were ready to go in the playoffs." Los Angeles has already clinched third in the Pacific Division and will play the second-place San Jose Sharks in the first round of the playoffs. The Oilers (28-44-9) have lost two in a row and have now been shut out 10 times this season, seven of those coming on home ice. "Tonight was a really disappointing effort on all fronts except for goaltending," said Oilers forward Taylor Hall. "By no means is a good effort in our last game going to make up for the 82 games that we have played, but it would certainly be better than going out on a bad note. If we had to leave the season after a game like tonights, that would leave a bit of a sting." The loss dropped Edmonton back into 29th place in the NHL, a point back of the Florida Panthers, who defeated Toronto 4-2 on the night. "It is a bit of a wakeup call," said Oilers forward David Perron of the shutout loss. "Everyone was happy with the way we had been playing over the last few games and it is a reminder that there is a lot of work to be done and that we had all put a lot of work in over the summer to get ready individually." It didnt take the Kings long to start the scoring, going up 1-0 on the games first shot 27 seconds into the first period. Justin Williams threw a pass in front of the Oilers net and it hit the stick of an Oilers defender before ending up in front for Kopitar, who sent his 200th career NHL goal past Edmonton goalie Viktor Fasth. "YYou cant give a Stanley Cup contender a lead that early," said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins.dddddddddddd. "Our top line was on the ice and it was a really easy assignment there and it was in our net. That cant happen." The Kings went up by a pair nine minutes into the first period. Willie Mitchell flubbed a shot from the point but it ended up right on the stick of Gaborik, who beat Fasth for his 10th goal of the season in his 40th game. Los Angeles almost padded its lead with three minutes left in the first, but a Jarret Stoll power-play shot clanged off the post. The Kings had 11 first-period shots, while Edmonton only managed four on Jones. Edmonton had its first real scoring chance of the game minutes into the second period when Perron circled the net and had Jones going the wrong way, but the Kings goalie recovered in time to make a huge diving save on Hall. Los Angeles got a gift goal with six minutes to play in the second period as Gaborik took a wrist shot just across the blue-line that Fasth only got a piece of before it caromed into the net. It appeared that Gaborik had his hat trick on a power play with six minutes to play in the third, however, the goal was called back due to goaltender interference by Williams. The Kings outshot Edmonton 48-17 in the game and 23-3 in the third period. Both teams close out the regular season on Saturday as the Oilers play host to the Vancouver Canucks in the final game for both clubs, while the Kings return home for their final pre-playoff tune-up against the Anaheim Ducks. Notes: It was the final of four meetings between the Oilers and Kings this season. Los Angeles won the first three games with a combined scored of 9-3 while out-shooting Edmonton 136-69. ... The Kings came into the game having won five straight over Edmonton and 11 of their last 14 meetings. The Kings were 11-0-2 in their last 11 games at Rexall Place in Edmonton. ... Kings forward Marian Gaborik now has at least a point in eight of his last nine games. ... The Kings sat out a pair of defencemen in Robyn Regehr (undisclosed) and Drew Doughty (upper body) for the game. Both are listed as day-to-day. ... Edmonton has a number of players who are done for the season in defenceman Andrew Ference (pectoral tear) and forwards Boyd Gordon (shoulder), Nail Yakupov (broken ankle), Jesse Joensuu (high ankle sprain), Ryan Jones (torn PCL) and Luke Gazdic (shoulder). ... Oiler forward Sam Gagner left the game favouring his ankle after an awkward collision into the boards midway through the second period and did not return. 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