Fanshawe FC: A promising new look for TFC
TFC’s fortune looks to have turned as the club has a few good pieces to work around.
The defence has been as solid as experts promised with the arrival of centre-back-turned-coach Ryan Nelsen.
Danny Califf and captain Darren O'Dea have formed one of the best centre-back tandems in the league — a tough task, considering TFC struggled in the defensive end last season.
The left and right backs haven't seen much change. Ashtone Morgan and Richard Eckersley return with pace and sensible attacking runs to help complement the midfield. However, they are shallow in these areas. Darrell Russell started over a tired Morgan when they played the Los Angeles Galaxy on March 30. He proved over the 90 minutes (especially the final minute, when his costly header gifted possession and a late equalizer for the Galaxy) that this back four isn't much deeper than that.
The midfield has seen a major overhaul for the better, as TFC looks to move the ball about the pitch, something they haven't done in a long time. John Bostock and Hogan Ephraim give the midfield technical skill, allowing the group to properly develop plays instead of just seeing a dump and chase style of play.
Although we haven't seen the two properly link up just yet, similar skills from an already settled Luis Silva have already done the trick. Winger Reggie Lambe is also performing well (leaving the nickname ‘Reggie Goat' behind), as the five-man midfield has allowed for him to play a limited role, letting him use his speed and cut down his touches on the ball.
The two central midfielders, however, have been awful so far. Terry Dunfield and Jeremy Hall both should not be playing at this level, as neither of them can properly stop or create plays. Hall, usually a defender, can barely control the ball and pass it before he is shut down. Meanwhile, Dunfield has always been a liability defensively, taking awful challenges and leaving his backs vulnerable.
Finally, the strikers have been fabulous. My apologizes, the striker has been fabulous. Welsh native Robbie Earnshaw is a former Cardiff City man. He has played as the lone striker and is averaging a goal a game after four games. Being that lone man up top, he is really given licence to pounce on sleepy defencemen and create chances.
Earnshaw has already become a BMO Field legend with his first four goals, all created by him. Whether it's catching a defense with a slow pass or a penalty, this man is proving well worth every penny he is paid.
There are a lot of positives with this TFC squad this year as they look toward the summer. Only time will tell if they can step the pace up and find themselves in playoff contention by autumn.