Takeaways from Toronto’s 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena

MLS is back after a two week break for the World Cup, and Toronto FC visited the New York Red Bulls on Friday night in an exciting game where the Canadian side were robbed of three points in injury time.

It was game that was made a spectacle by designated players, as there was a DP in every goal of the night. Even Gilberto bagged a goal, and he will take confidence from finally ending his goal drought.

We take a look at what we can take away from the score draw:

1. Is Jermain Defoe Roy Hodgson’s greatest omission?

Being left out of the England World Cup squad would have disappointed him immensely, especially because in hindsight, England lacked a world class finisher in Brazil.

However, Defoe was straight back to business on Friday night as he netted his eighth goal in nine games this season with cracking finish on the run.

2. Thierry Henry – will he ever lose it?

‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’ could not describe this man better.

Having only joined up with the squad on Monday after working as a pundit for the BBC at the World Cup, Henry looked more than comfortable in his side’s return to action.

The respect opposition defenders give him, allows him to dictate play even in the final third. His contribution is priceless to New York.

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3. Gilberto can score!

It took him ten appearances, but it was more than worth the wait, as Gilberto opened his MLS account with a free kick to be remembered. If you haven’t seen it, you need to.

He has lacked energy and hunger since his move stateside, but Friday night was a vast improvement.

Coming off the bench to score clearly shows there is something there; he just has to replicate it on a regular basis from now.

Highlights via MLS on YouTube:

 

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USA progress further than England at the World Cup: What does this mean for US Soccer?

The USA qualified from the ‘Group of Death’ on Thursday and with that excellent achievement progressed into the last 16 of the World Cup for the second successive tournament.

This marks the first time that the USA have gone further than the English at the World Cup, so what does this mean for US Soccer?

Well firstly it means that the World should start taking US soccer seriously. Major League Soccer is constantly improving, and as a result the national team’s standard is too.

USA arguably had a more difficult group than England but looked more than comfortable defending against Ghana, Portugal and Germany.

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Going into the tournament, the majority of international fans wouldn’t have known who Matt Besler and Kyle Beckerman were, but they sure do now after stellar performances from both, as with most of the USA roster.

The success stems from the philosophy set by coach Jurgen Klinsmann who has put emphasis on developing soccer in the US throughout all levels of the game.

A plan has been put in place by Klinsmann to use an experience-filled team in order to set a platform for younger players to adhere and adapt to.

So far the younger players have added to the squad when called upon with John Brooks scoring the crucial winner against Ghana and DeAndre Yedlin causing problems off the bench in the last two games.

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England lack direction at the moment and therefore USA are in a better position going forward.

The work of Jurgen Klinsmann is somewhat going unnoticed on a global scale and that can mask the master plan he is conjuring stateside, with his role in US soccer being seen as more than just a coaching role, but also as a head of soccer development.

As for England, there is no way of knowing where their standard will be come the next World Cup in Russia.

Whereas the USA have promise going forward and with the ever-expanding MLS behind them, the depth of US soccer will only increase.

The current crop are grinding out great results and look to be in excellent shape going forward, and as such have looked a far better footballing nation than England in Brazil.

5 Takeaways from Toronto FC’s important victory against New York Red Bulls

Toronto FC got a crucial 2-0 win against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night, as the Red Bulls fall to their second consecutive loss. It is the first time Toronto have beaten New York in 11 attempts. Here are our takeaways from a key game in Major League Soccer.

 

1. Jermain Defoe is still as deadly as ever!

The England international showed yet again why he is still a world-class finisher with his goal at BMO field, as he let the ball run across his body before smashing it into the top corner.

The ex-Spurs striker will be pleased with his performance, and many will once again question his exclusion from England’s World Cup squad.

One thing that’s for sure is that Toronto will benefit from England’s loss.

 

2. Gilberto is a waste of a designated player.

The Brazilian currently fills one of the three designated player slots the Reds are allowed, and it is bewildering as to why, as he hasn’t scored a goal this season.

In his seven appearances this season he has only one assist to his name, and with Luke Moore opening his account on his MLS debut for Toronto last night, time is ticking for Gilberto.

More pressing matters for Toronto are the rumoured returns to MLS for Brek Shea and DaMarcus Beasley. Surely, they would want to challenge other franchises for those signatures, with the ambition they have shown over the past six months?

 

3. Toronto has more depth than it seems.

With Michael Bradley absent with the USMNT, the Reds went with on-loan Blackburn right-back, Bradley Orr, in the middle of the park.

What was more surprising than his position on the pitch was that he played a perfect pass to set-up Defoe’s goal, quickly calming any Toronto supporters nerves about how they would cope without Bradley.

And of course they have recently acquired Collen Warner from Montreal Impact, who also plays in the centre of midfield.

Deputising for the flu-ridden Julio Cesar, Joe Bendik started in goal once again, and kept a clean sheet against a strike force, which has produced twelve goals this season.

 

4. Bradley Wright-Phillips is human.

Coming off his second hat trick of the season against Chicago Fire, BWP couldn’t carry his form into last night.

The Red Bulls failed time after time to break down Toronto, and it was an hour before BWP had a decent chance.

And It was a sitter! But the former Charlton forward put it straight over the bar from six-yards.

Just a minor blip in his season? We shall see as the weeks progress.

 

5. New York doesn’t like the road.

The Red Bulls have only won one game away from home this season. Just let that sink in!

A team that boasts talents such as Bradley Wright-Phillips, Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and Lloyd Sam has won only one game away all season.

On paper they are arguably the best team in the league, but struggle to use their dominance in possession to its full advantage.

Last night marked the second time they have failed to score away from home this campaign, and although they usually seem to have no problem scoring, they are desperate for a solid center-half. Rio Ferdinand anybody?

The philosophy is perfect: dominate possession and use your width in attack to stretch the opposition in order to create holes centrally. However, with Cahill missing through the World Cup, they have lost their playmaker, and catalyst in the final third.

Tough times appear to be ahead for New York if they don’t bring in a decent defender.

Defoe “devastated” at England snub but it’s a boost for Toronto FC

By Louis East

Jermain Defoe says he is “devastated” not to have made England’s 23-man squad for the World Cup, but his absence strengthens Toronto FC’s chances this season.

England manager, Roy Hodgson, named his squad for the World Cup on Monday, but Defoe only made the standby list, and he will not travel to Brazil, barring an injury to a striker in the squad.

The 31-year-old striker played for England at the 2010 World Cup and scored one goal for the Three Lions at the tournament, but he has been overlooked this time by Hodgson.

Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Rickie Lambert have been named as the England striker’s, with Jermain Defoe and Andy Carroll having to settle for a place on the standby list.

Defoe made the move away from English football earlier this year to join Toronto, and has been in fine form, scoring four goals in five appearances for The Reds, but the move to MLS may be the reason behind his absence.

“You can’t expect anything but I did feel like I had a good chance of going because I’ve been in most of the squads, if not all the squads, so to miss out, I don’t know, I just feel devastated to be honest,” Defoe said speaking to BBC Radio.

He added that he did not think joining Toronto was a mistake, and wished the England team the best of luck for the tournament.

Toronto will keep hold of Defoe, unless he is called up in place of an injured striker, and Ryan Nelsen’s team will be boosted by news.

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(Photo: Jermain Defoe will remain with Toronto, a boost for The Reds)

Speaking ahead of their Amway Canadian Championship second-leg match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday, Nelsen said he was surprised that the former Tottenham striker was overlooked.

“I was a bit surprised and disappointed for Jermain because he arguably deserves it. It’s a shame for him, but he’s on the standby (squad) and you never know.”

Defoe will likely feature for The Reds on Wednesday night, as will Michael Bradley and Julio Cesar, before the duo depart for World Cup camps with the USMNT and Brazil respectively.