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June 27: TFC Academy /Trois-Rivieres @ Oshawa [R]


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I just came back from a rather interesting CSL game that was played in Oshawa. I did not take notes, and the program is very inaccurate, so I will just give some general impressions from memory and hope that Rocket Robin or someone else can post the real facts.

The final score was 4-0 for Trois-Rivieres. TFC's best player was their keeper (more on him later - SERIOUS INJURY), so that should give you some idea of how the game went. The academy players are generally smaller and they concede too much time/space with minimal tackling. The few offensive forays were usually unsupported and therefore solo efforts. Apart from one nice first-half thirty-ish yard strike that TR's keeper felt the need to parry past his left post for a corner (I'm not even sure if it was on target anyways), the closest Toronto came to getting on the scoreboard were a couple of near own-goals. TR's team is also somewhat young, but they had a clear size advantage in most areas except keeper.

I will try to recreate the goals, but bear in mind that I'm working off memory (I might have the order of the first two goals mixed up)and while the programme was reasonably accurate for Toronto, it was at best 50/50 for TR's lineup. For example, one of the most impressive players (and perhaps the most ready to move up) was TR's big (tall and thick) central stiker/target man, #25. There is no #25 in the programme. Some of the TR players had names on their backs and some did not, so I guess their roster is in constant flux.

The first goal was in the 27th minute of the first half. TR's big striker (#25) did a high kick to intercept a ball while charging forward just before the six yard box to try to lob it over the onrushing keeper. The TR striker and TFC Keeper - the two biggest players on the pitch - collided hard just inside the six yard box and both went down. The lobbed ball almost went in but hit the crossbar and deflected down into the melee where TR's #17 (Pierre-Rudolf Mayard) outmuscled a TFC player for the ball and was able to turn and fire in from two yards. The TFC keeper and TR stiker were both down when the goal was scored, but both got up after being attended to by the trainers and shook hands.

The second TR goal came in the last minute of the first half and resulted from two TFC mistakes. The first was when a TFC CB chasing down a ball attempted to turn and play it with TR's #25 closing in fast from behind instead of going to the keeper or out-of-bounds. The TR striker took the ball and with a winger's help kept possession before crossing into the mass a players that had assembled just inside the 18 yard box. The second mistake was the keeper deciding late to charge at this group. He arrived late and Joe Di Buono (listed in program as #21, but he wore #20) took possession of the cross and fired in.

The third and fourth goals were in the second half and both were very simple but excellent hard shots into corners from distance. The third was by their #10 (not the name listed in program - sounded something like Contrares) and the fourth was in the last minute of regulation or just past it by #19 Alpha Bah.

There was some pushing and shoving garbage on a couple of occassions, but nothing serious and only yellows. TR's #17 was subbed off only eight minutes into the second despite being one of the better players in the first and a goal scorer, but I did not see a limp or anything.

The one VERY SERIOUS INJURY was at the end (it ended the game!) and that was to TFC's big keeper (#50 Jarret Humphreys). On the fourth and final goal in the last minute of regulation, the keeper made a big leaping dive on a shot that was just too good to reach. He got back up in some pain favouring his left shoulder (shot was to his left so he landed on his left side). The trainer did not come on though and play continued into injury time. About 1-2 minutes after play resumed, there was a goal kick and the second he kicked the ball he screamed, went down, and stayed down. The trainer went on and after awhile the ref called the game. TFC did have a back-up keeper and could have made a sub, but I initially guessed that the ref didn't see the point since it was 4-0 and already into injury time. The seriousness became more apparent later because I stayed behind to talk to a U-Sector member ("Bellrose") for some time and the player never left the spot where he went down. I probably stayed about 20 minutes past the final whistle and he never moved. Others left but the trainer stayed on the field with him. I knew they were waiting for a board to carry him off and after maybe 15 minutes the ambulance arrived and drove onto the field and parked next to where he fell and still lay. Based on the initial incident, it would appear to be his shoulder, but I guess you can't rule out ribs or back or a combination of those.

Among the TFC Academy players, I thought that their now injured keeper showed the most potential. He is a very big kid, with both the height and build to play against men. He is also very vocal, having the loudest and clearest voice on the pitch which he constantly used and could be heard by everyone in the stadium. His distribution is ok (safe with throws, good distance on kicks but just as likely to find the head of a TR player as a TFC player so no Edwards-like accuracy yet) and I will give him a pass on three of the four goals. The one problem he has - which he made more than once but it only resulted in one goal - was his decision-making in coming out to challenge. I'm sure that will improve with experience once he recovers from injury.

Among the other academy players, there are no clear superstars, but some with potential. The defence is abit small except for one CB (#33 Gino Mauro), who was the one player close enough in size to handle TR's big target striker. He also showed ok speed for his size to close down and kick the ball away from a fast opponent coming down the right wing who otherwise would have been in on goal alone. At times he seemed to play like a sweeper and took care of everything as the RB and LB went forward alot. I guess #37 (Jeremy Halliday), #43 (Domenic Roberts) and particularly #29 Eros Olazabal (a small striker with some speed) showed abit, but it's hard to judge from a single game that didn't see any TFC goals due to a lack of possession, service from midfield, or support for anyone who did get the ball deep. Another interesting one to watch is #40 Daniel Dibiagio - a tall/skinny redhead CM who from a distance kinda looks like Carrot Top.

The TR players of interest were Pierre-Rudolph Mayard (goalscorer), Elkana Mayard (tall CB), Joe Di Buono (goalscorer), and the #25 big central striker/target man who is big enough for the pros and may just need a better touch/accuracy, but gave TFC headaches and did much of the work to set-up the two first-half goals.

There were only ~50 spectators and atleast half of them were parents of academy players. They spent most of the time bitching about the ref and linesmen (bad, but in no-way decisive so the parents can't claim robbery here). The stadium has a track around it (as a Whitby native, I used to run there) and the pitch had gridiron lines. The scoreboard is also designed for Canadian football and the clock counted up instead of down so they announced the first goal as being at 18 minutes because that was what was left instead of 27 minutes which is what had been played.

So, it was 4-0 for Trois-Rivieres and I think that was a fair score. Sorry for the length of this post, but I know that there is more curiosity about TFC's academy than there is information so I thought I would share my thoughts on this game.

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quote:Originally posted by Bxl Boy

I think #25 was Charles Gbeke

According to Rocket Robin's reports, it appears that it was. That makes alot of sense based on what I observed. I could tell that he was an older player (youngsters usually aren't filled out like that) who had the size to be a great target man and clearly understood the role well, but who just lacked a little bit of touch and accuracy to guarantee a spot with a real pro team. Given Gbeke's USL1 journeyman career, I think this makes sense. In this case, it really was a case of a man playing against boys and he was quite dominant. A good experience for the boys.

I hope someone is able to find out more about the TFCA keeper's injury. A large and vocal kid like that has potential as a pro keeper if he can just improve his decision making.

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Easy answer to the Oshawa question.

The Friday night game between Portugal FC and Serbian White Eagles was scheduled for Lamport Stadium and it was the Rogers TV game of the week. The schedule always had the TFC Academy game as "TBD" for location.

With the rematch game between Academy and Attak scheduled the next afternoon at Lamport, maybe the schedulers felt like they'd burn out the attendance $$$ people would spend. It looks like the attendance for both Academy games was only 100 at each game.

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A neighbour of mine on TFC academy has said that the goalkeeper sprained ligaments in his shoulder. another note, ive been to a few TFC academy games and that is only the 2nd time that that keeper has gotten the start, the other keeper # 25 (Soitiri Varlokostas) looks to be the starter.

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