ng stick-handling drills. The centre, who bro

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lw789
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ng stick-handling drills. The centre, who bro

THE FORMATIONS Toronto FC lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, as it did last weekend in its 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders. Jordan 11 Clearance . There was one change to TFCs starting XI, as designated player, Gilberto, made his debut in a Toronto jersey, replacing Dwayne De Rosario up front. DC United named an unchanged lineup from their 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew on the opening weekend of the season (DC had a bye last weekend). Head coach Ben Olsen again chose to line up his team in a 4-4-2 diamond formation. (Click for larger) THE GAME Toronto FCs home debut wasnt pretty. Not because the players on display were poor, but because the pitch simply wasnt ready for soccer. That is not the fault of the BMO Field grounds crew though, who did an admirable job getting the surface prepared for the game. But after the coldest winter in recent memory, it was always going to be an impossible task to turn the playing surface into the lush carpet that players come to expect. While DC United boss Ben Olsen said the pitch "was as bad as Ive ever seen in MLS", it didnt stop the players from trying to play. But the bobbly surface, which cut up as the game wore on, made it virtually impossible for the players to string long sequences of passes together. Despite the difficult conditions (it was also cold and windy down on the pitch), there were some glimpses of what lies ahead for the long-suffering fans of Toronto FC. The partnership between Jermain Defoe and Gilberto looks to be very promising. Defoes movement in the final third was exceptional, and he had a number of chances in the first half to break the deadlock. In Gilberto, Defoe has a partner who can serve as his perfect foil. The Brazilian was comfortable dropping deep to receive the ball, didnt shy away from the physical battle, and once he had the ball at his feet, was willing to drive at the back four or play the role of provider. Michael Bradley was again a dominant force in midfield, and his partnership with Jonathan Osorio is also reason for optimism. They can both get caught ahead of the ball at times (as they did in Seattle last week for the Sounders goal) but that is due more to their lack of familiarity than to any tactical negligence. The early signs are that these two players will be very influential for Toronto FC. At the back, TFC looked comfortable all game. Both Doneil Henry and Steven Caldwell had strong games, with Henry winning everything in the air. In Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola, DC United have two very experienced front men, but Henry and Caldwell thwarted everything that the pair could throw their way. THE TURNING POINT Only one goal separated the teams at the final whistle, and it came from great work from Torontos three designated players. Apparently, you do get what you pay for. On the hour mark, Bradley picked up a square ball from Osorio in midfield, took one touch and floated a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Gilberto, who had made a great run in behind DC Uniteds central defender, Jeff Parke. (Click for larger) Gilberto settled the ball with a perfect first touch, and as the covering defender, Bobby Boswell, was closing him down, fired a right-footed shot on target. Look at the positional awareness of Defoe when Gilberto is shooting; he put himself in the ideal position to pick up the rebound. He didnt charge in full-speed towards goal; instead, he held his run so that he could adjust his position, which gave him the best possible chance of recovering the ball. (Click for larger) DC United goalkeeper, Bill Hamid, did very well to parry the hard, low shot from Gilberto. Bobby Boswell tried to hack the ball clear, but Defoe, who had taken up the ideal position inside the penalty area, intercepted his clearance. (Click for larger) From there, Defoe did what he does best. He took one touch to set himself and one touch to fire the ball into the back of the net. THE POSITIVES In a scrappy game, it was encouraging to see the developing partnerships all over the pitch for Toronto FC. The strength of this team is its spine: Defoe-Gilberto / Bradley-Osorio / Caldwell-Henry / Julio Cesar is as good a spine as any team in MLS. If those players can stay healthy (and not miss too many games due to this summers World Cup), Toronto FC fans can look forward to playoff soccer for the first time in the clubs history. Defoe was a class apart against DC United. His movement to pull off the shoulders of the DC United defenders was something that all aspiring strikers should watch over and over again. But I thought that 20-year old Henry was immense for TFC. Ive said it before (and I promise you, Ill be saying it again) - Henry is going to be a real player. THE NEGATIVES Jackson had a game to forget, and I suspect that he could be getting a call from the Leagues Disciplinary Committee. In the 50th minute, Jackson was booked for an altercation with DC Uniteds Davy Arnaud. While the referee cautioned Jackson on the play, I think that video evidence will show that Jackson intentionally elbowed Arnaud off the ball – which could draw a suspension similar to the one received by Seattles Clint Dempsey for striking TFCs Mark Bloom last weekend. THE STAR MAN With three goals in his first two games in MLS, Defoe is off to a flying start for Toronto FC. Goals get the headlines – and rightly so – but it was Defoes overall play that was so impressive. His movement and finishing ability are superb, and if his teammates can continue to deliver him good service, it is quite possible that Defoe will sit atop the leagues scoring chart come the end of the season. Never before has Toronto FC started the season with two victories. But a major investment in better players is paying dividends early on for TFC as they sit joint top of the Eastern Conference standings with maximum points from their first two games. Jordan 11 Cheap Real . Playing in his 19th career final, the second-seeded Tsonga was favourite to win the Open 13 for the third time and to secure an 11th career title, but he struggled with Gulbis attacking approach. Air Jordan 11 For Sale Cheap . Left-handed reliever Boone Logan agreed to a $16.5 million, three-year contract on Friday, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. TAMPA, Fla. -- Goaltender Anders Lindback had a solid performance against a familiar opponent. Lindback won in his first game against his former team, Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 on Thursday night. "Its always nice to get a win, especially against the old team," said Lindback, who made 28 saves. "Its always a little special." The Lightning also got goals from Martin St. Louis, Teddy Purcell and Richard Panik. Lindback stopped six shots, including a pair of quality chances by David Legwand, during a two-minute stretch late in the first period. Tampa Bay acquired Lindback in a trade with Nashville on June 15, 2012. "I know for him it was a big game," Killorn said. "Its the one he circled on the calendar. He played awesome." Craig Smith had two goals for the Predators. Matt Cullen assisted on both of Smiths goals. "Theyre playing good hockey," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said of Tampa Bay. "They play a real high-pace game." Killorn put the Lightning up 1-0 when he beat Carter Hutton from the right circle 2:25 into the game. Defenceman Victor Hedman and Jean-Philippe Cote assisted on the goal. Hedman was back in the lineup after missing the previous six games because of a lower-body injury. Cote, recalled Wednesday from Syracuse of the AHL, got his first career point playing in his first NHL gamme since an eight-game stint with Montreal during the 2005-06 season. Air Jordan 11 Shoes For Sale. The Lightning are 15-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the game. Nashville dropped to 3-15-1 when its opponent scores first. "Weve been finding out in this league getting the lead is huge," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. St. Louis made it 2-0 during a power play at 19:06 of the first. Tampa Bay had scored with the man advantage in just four of its previous 22 games. After Smith cut the Nashville deficit to 2-1 at 6:36 of the second, Purcell put the Lightning back up by two 1:51 later. Nashville got within 3-2 when Smith scored a power play with 6:58 left in the second. Tampa Bay again quickly responded on Paniks goal just 49 seconds later. "Thats not good," Smith said. "Takes the momentum away from you." Hutton was pulled after Paniks goal and replaced by Marek Mazanec, who stopped all 19 shots he faced. Hutton gave up four goals on 14 shots on his 28th birthday. NOTES: Injured Lightning star Steven Stamkos moved into his second week of on-ice work, spending over 30 minutes skating end-to-end, shooting and doing stick-handling drills. The centre, who broke his right leg Nov. 11, hopes to return in February. ... Lightning LW Ryan Malone (chipped ankle bone) had a light on-ice workout. ... Nashville F Filip Forsberg, sidelined by a concussion, has been assigned to Milwaukee of the AHL. ... Predators C Colin Wilson was scratched. 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