James On Soccer

Reds' Preki faces the music

TORONTO — The Globe and Mail

Toronto FC's Head Coach Predrag "Preki" Radosavljevic gestures as he sits on the bench ahead of his team's MLS match against Chicago Fire in Toronto on Saturday May 8, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young (CHRIS YOUNG)

While TFC head coach Preki still appears to be grey-less - it must be the Yoga classes - any more displays like Saturdays performance against DC United and the little follicle critters will begin appearing as sure as the sun rises. After all, whether you like or dislike the first year TFC head coach it is abundantly clear he cares about his team and his players.

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But at the end of the day it will not mean an awful lot if failure in 2010 is met.

After a 1-0 loss to bottom club DC United Toronto FC are now once again precariously close to losing out on the post season. Knowing they have not made the MLS playoffs in their first three years, then letdown in this, their fourth season, will be unacceptable for an ever growing impatient fan base.

The chorus of boos ringing all round at BMO field is a strong indication that the time is up for MLSE in regards to making changes at the top.

With six games remaining there is still the possibility that TFC can squeeze their way into the playoffs but realistically the poor performance against a spirited DC United team should buffer against such positive thoughts. Preki can leverage the 3 games in seven days card but to be outplayed by the last place team at home dilutes any such excuse.

Whether statistically or just through observation it was DC United who dominated throughout this contest. They were more adventurous when going forward as they threw plenty of numbers into the attacking third at every opportunity. While they may have lacked the cutting edge in and around the penalty area they nevertheless always looked threatening, with Pablo Hernandez particularly impressive.

On the ball they were man for man better than TFC and even defensively they looked more assured. The up and down side of DC United's Canadian defender Dejan Jakovic is that on this performance he looks like he is developing nicely which is good news for Canadian fans. And the downside? For TFC it is the knowledge that he was missed by the club after a trial a few years ago.

Preki meanwhile needs to take some responsibility with his player selections. Playing Raivis Hscanovics at left full back was a poor selection and his misplaced touches on the ball reeked of the amateurish level. It is where the rotation system can be over used and unnecessary, especially at such an important time. If the coaches evaluation, that some of TFC players are good enough and worthy of the alternating method, then it is indeed disappointing as some of them are clearly off the pace - Hscanovics being the shining light.

And as for the goal scoring drought. Well, even with the main strikers Mista and Santos Maicon in the line-up it made little difference. There was once again, for another 90 minutes, a complete lack of pedigree in the final third for TFC and it does not look like getting any better.

Even in the area of normal staple stability for TFC - the ability to compete physically, mentally, and with discipline - appeared to be trumped by the DC United team who from the outset looked like a team on a mission to get the result. It could be an ominous sign for TFC.

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