This was the type of attack that Frank Yallop likely envisioned this offseason while piecing together a rebuilt side. The Fire were dangerous from start to finish of this match, scored three goals and probably should have scored more. The return of Shaun Maloney and David Accam together provided the spark that had been missing through most of the first four games of the year. Accam in particular, changes the way that opponents have to defend against the Fire due to his pace and dribbling ability.
The Fire exchanged quick strikes, breaks, and counter attacks for possession in this game (Toronto led 61-39) but the home team wreaked havoc in a manner not seen at Toyota Park in quite some time. Passing was a bit sloppy at times and the defending is still occasionally shaky but this was entertaining and a big step in the right direction.
The second consecutive win of the season came against an Eastern Conference opponent at home and for two weeks running the late game pratfall that was a signature of last season's failures never materialized. There's still a long way to go and much work remains but the agonizing and punchless manner in which the opener in Los Angeles was played seems like ages ago in comparison to this outing.
GK Jon Busch (5) - The first Toronto goal was an unfortunate deflection off of Larentowicz that managed to get by him. Only registered one save but he does command the box.
D Eric Gehrig (4) - In his post game press conference, Frank Yallop addressed the decision to start Gehrig over Lovel Palmer at right back and this game should cement Palmer's return in the next match. Continues to drift too far out of position leaving acres of space on the right side. Toronto recognized this early and attacked there for much of the first half. A whiff on a cross preceded Toronto's second goal. Still looks like a center back playing outside.
D Jeff Larentowicz (6) - There was the deflection that resulted in an equalizer for TFC but there was also the game winner from almost thirty yards out to balance that out. Despite the possession, Toronto didn't have many clean looks and only one shot on target other than the two goals.
D Adailton (6) - Strong game in limiting Jozy Altidore. Not flashy but calm and composed on the ball when needed. Sprung Accam with a crisp long ball over the top in the 34th that could have resulted in another score.
D Joevin Jones (7) - A picturesque finish with the outside of his left boot in the 14th gave the Fire a lead. With Toronto attacking mostly on the Fire's weaker right there wasn't much from the opposition's attackers against Jones.
M Matt Polster (6) - The rookie has been a revelation so far. This time another solid outing against Michael Bradley shows why he will difficult to replace in the eleven even when Victor Peres and Razvan Cocis are available. Just solid.
M Michael Stephens (5) - Left in the 8th minute with a sprained ankle after being fouled by Warren Creavalle. It was Creavalle's first yellow of the match.
M Harry Shipp (7) - Two assists and two shots on goal as Shipp continues his impressive early season form. Found Maloney for his goal in the 56th and tapped the ball toward Larentowicz on the game winning free kick play in the 68th. Well struck shot in the 76th forced Bendik into one of several quality saves.
M David Accam (7) - His ability to beat and outrun defenders opened everything up. Tormented Creavalle for the entire match. The hard foul in the 67th in which Creavalle was shown his second yellow resulted in the free kick and Larentowicz's game winner. Had numerous opportunities to score a goal of his own but the missed chances weren't particularly easy finishes and Bendik also did well to deny a couple of them. If Accam continues on this form the Fire will not only be entertaining but they will be difficult to defend and beat. Accam says he about 90% fit. Not good news for MLS right backs.
M Shaun Maloney (7) - Provided his first goal in a Fire shirt and also assisted with a neat backheel freeing Jones for his goal. With talent around and in front of him, Maloney was bound to produce eventually. This could be a spring board game for the Fire's number ten.
M Quincy Amarikwa (5) - Always an honest effort but still tends to put his head down and hold the ball too long, misses passes that should be made, and makes some plays more difficult than they should be. His high energy and combative style does cause fits for defenders but if the Fire are to take another step up in class they'll need more from the center forward position.
M Chris Ritter (5) - Came in for Stephens in the 8th minute. A great ball to Accam in the 9th set up a good chance but his dreadful giveaway in the middle of the park in the 54th led to Toronto's second goal. A big block on Bradley's shot in second half stoppage time also helped.
F Kennedy Igboananike (6) - Replaced Amarikwa in the 74th and although he did not figure into a score he did provide some glimpses of danger in combination with Accam and Maloney. Had a good chance blocked in the 76th after Bendik came through with a double save to deny the Fire's fourth score.
M Victor Perez (5) - Subbed into the match in the 88th for Polster. Looked a half step off on a play or two.
An off week before a trip to visit Frank Klopas and Montreal on the 18th.