Saturday had a weird feel about it for Toronto FC at BMO Field. Josh Manson Jersey . One would think advancing in the Amway Canadian Championship on Wednesday would have left some positive residue in the atmosphere. Team-wise, there was momentum contributing to the positive result, a 2-0 win over one of Major League Soccers glamour clubs, the New York Red Bulls. The energy, or lack thereof around the stadium had another feel entirely. We shall call it the remnants of a history of failure. Some level of disillusionment, distrust, and negativity still float around to a certain degree. A new culture isnt created overnight. And thus, a change in perception is as much a work in progress as the team on the field Three straight league losses heading in, Michael Bradley away on World Cup duty, and an unpopular trade amongst some Toronto FC supporters made for awkwardness. There was tension throughout an unusually quiet crowd, somewhat predictable considering possession stats heavily favouring the visitors while the prospects of another dreaded late goal conceded lingered. The heartbreaking goal against didnt come. Contrary to usual script, it was the Red Bulls Bradley Wright-Phillips with all the wrong moves, missing an absolute wide-open sitter. Simply a brutal miss by MLS top goal scorer. Despite waves of pressure, the Red Bulls put only one shot on target, a testament to Toronto FCs stout defensive structure and blue-collar effort. The commitment shown by the Reds is something to rally around, isnt it? Ill take this work in progress over anything weve seen before at BMO, thank you very much. Four wins through eight matches should be entirely pleasing. The MLS standings are misleading with Toronto FC sitting 7th but playing a league-low eight games thus far. Its the 1.5 points earned per game that tells a more positive tale; tied for the third best rate in the Eastern Conference. Progress. There will be no convincing a fan base to fully commit to a product without reason for true conviction. Apprehension cannot simply be whisked away. The negative response to Issey Nakajima-Farran being traded to the Montreal Impact Friday (on his birthday) came as a surprise. Issey did fine as a member of Toronto FC. But the trade for Collen Warner is not a negative move for footballing reasons. Its the perception Issey was hard-done-by, with he and his agent reportedly not told of the deal beforehand, leading to the player taking to Twitter to call the move "#Inhumane". Perhaps my definition of Inhumane is entirely different. Its this kind of nonsense, the petty name-calling and lack of communication that can easily be resolved and need be remedied. Issey is a fine player, but lacked the defensive team play/awareness demanded by the manager. Issey could have remained a squad player in Toronto, and that would have been fine. Acquiring a player in Warner who can fill a specific role as a defensive midfielder is preferable. The wing positions still need upgrading. That would have remained on the to-do list even if Issey were not moved. The entire deal was blown out of proportion based on perception rather than anything tangible about team direction. So what is Toronto FCs team identity? Although it continues to be asked in the press box and through the rafters, through eight games it seems abundantly clear: a team difficult to break down defensively and one reliant upon the counter-attack. Those looking for expansive, attack-oriented football will remain disappointed for the time being. Thats not happening with this squad as currently constructed. Spare me style points, the 2-0 win was trademark Toronto FC. Here are my five thoughts: 1) The Defoe Effect - Jermain Defoe remains emotional about his exclusion from the 23-man England World Cup squad. Its a tough spot for Jermain. The questions asked about his decision to join MLS playing a role in his exclusion are completely unfair. He was never going to be picked not playing regular minutes at Tottenham either. Defoe was excluded because Roy Hodgson decided to name only four strikers and a glut of attacking midfielders. Is Defoe worthy of selection over Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge or Ricky Lambert? No chance. Thats no disrespect to Jermain. From the sounds of it, the lumbering Andy Carroll is the preferred striker on standby too, putting Defoe sixth in the pecking order. Its understandable why Ryan Nelsen warned post-match, "... England will miss him dearly, I think, come World Cup time." Defoes 12th-minute goal was a thing of beauty: an unstoppable strike after finding space behind the Red Bulls backline (which he did all afternoon). Defoe took one touch before unleashing a shot of the highest quality, top corner. Unstoppable. The power and placement top class, decisive and clinical. Its the type of finish that separates him from most in MLS. Defoe makes Toronto FC a constant danger as long as hes on the field, no matter how the team plays behind him. Make it four goals in just five games for Defoe, while no other TFC player has scored more than once. 2) Moore is More – New Toronto FC striker Luke Moore loves BMO Field. The Englishman scored a hat trick against TFC in a 2007 summer friendly while at Aston Villa. Moore made it two-for-two in games scoring goals at BMO after coming on as a second half substitute in his home debut. Moore capitalized on goalkeeper Luis Robles and defender Chris Duvall colliding, making for an easy tap-in time added on to guarantee the three points. It was a productive 40 minutes of action for Moore, doing well holding up the ball. It must be questioned whether Moore is a preferable option short-term over misfiring Gilberto. The Brazilian missed another clear-cut goal scoring opportunity in the 19th minute. The ball fell to Gilberto on the back post, open inside the six-yard box. Instead of getting his body behind the ball and guiding it into the back of the net, Gilberto lunged and stabbed, with the ball bouncing awkwardly out of play for a goal kick. He has to capitalize on these kinds of chances. Missing sitters as such brings back ugly memories of Chad Barrett or Jeff Cunningham, but even worse because Gilberto is a designated player. The designation matters in our evaluation. Matias Laba was sacrificed by TFC to bring in another goal scorer. Laba could have made for an ideal centre-midfield partner with Bradley. I still stand by the reasoning behind the move for Gilberto – TFC needs goal scorers to compliment Defoe. Can Gilberto be that guy? Its still far too early to make any grandiose proclamation. Thus far Gilberto has let down the faith of his general manager and head coach. More is required, or Nelsen should just roll with Moore for the time being. 3) Orr is More – Bradley Orr has become Mr. Utility for Toronto FC. He has played four positions for the club, and as he puts it, is trying to be a good "squad player". There will always be a fit for a player like Orr, who was an absolute asset Saturday reading the play and helping out his backline. Orr rarely got forward from his central midfield position, and when he did he assisted on Defoes opener. Orr dropped deeper as the game wore on, basically sitting on top of Steven Caldwell and Nick Hagglund. He was like another defender, in position for help and support. Despite his standout performance, Orr is not suited to play the position full-time. His distribution isnt good enough for the holding role. This is the position Nelsen envisions for Warner. Your guess is as good as mine where Orr will land in his merry-go-round of positions. Nelsen seems ecstatic with Mark Bloom at right-back, Orrs natural position. So Orr will have to remain patient for his chances and continue to be that good squad player. Hes an asset Toronto FC will continue to call upon. 4) Hagglund over Henry – The rookie out of Xavier has given plenty for his head coach to think about. Hagglund was preferred Saturday ahead of Doneil Henry at centre-back. Diving in for challenges and a lack of discipline have plagued Henry in recent weeks. Nelsen needs a more reliable, steady Henry to play alongside Caldwell. Credit Hagglund, who took full advantage of the opportunity. After some early jitters giving away possession twice cheaply in the opening minutes, Hagglund settled and his confidence grew as the match wore on, making better clearances and in control as the Red Bulls pressed. Its hard not envisioning Henry as the regular starting centre-back partner for Caldwell for the foreseeable future. Perhaps its best to have Henry watch a few more games from the sidelines, focusing on his defending tendencies in training, and not forced into game action until hes corrected his issues, namely staying on his feet and finding better defensive positioning on one-on-one defending. Hagglund is a serviceable option for the time being and beyond. 5) On the Defensive – The 12th-minute goal was a blessing and a curse for Toronto FC. Playing with an early lead allowed TFC to fall back defensively for the duration, taking few chances and allowing the Red Bulls to dictate the flow of the game. Parking the bus wouldnt be the best way to describe it, but its not far off. The defensive shell and rotation by the fullbacks in support has been phenomenal, reflective in conceding just nine through eight games. Playing such a defensive game comes with risk. Sitting back far too much has cost Toronto FC conceding late in matches against Colorado, New England, and Dallas. The commitment remains high but there isnt enough of a concerted effort to get forward, attack, and find that all-important second goal. New York maintained 59 per cent of possession; a terrible number for TFC playing at home. Better ball retention and consistent build up is a necessity as the season wears on. This also has everything to do with getting Defoe involved as much as possible. The ability thus far to grind out results has revealed all kinds of character in the team. But its a fallacy to expect this kind of play will bring similar results over the long-term. Toronto FC pays a visit to reigning MLS Cup Champion Sporting Kansas City Friday night at 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt. (TSN/TSN 1050 Radio). Gareth Wheeler can be reached on Twitter: @WheelerTSNgareth.firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Cogliano Jersey . The two were in the batting cage moments before game time. Bautista was taking final warm up cuts. Pillar was hitting soft toss. The one-time utility player turned All-Star pulled aside the clubs young, fourth outfielder and offered him some advice. Scott Niedermayer Jersey . -- A deflected pass that landed in DeSean Jacksons hands. http://www.officialduckshockeyauthentic.com/ryan-kesler-jersey/ . This weeks Raptors Report puts a bow on Gays brief, 10-month tenure in Toronto and ponders how his absence will affect the teams offence. Are they a better team without him? In addition to acquiring some valuable cap flexibility, what impact will the four incoming players have this season and beyond? Click here for the Dec.CINCINNATI - Andy Dalton knows that its mostly on him.Dalton has played poorly in the Bengals three straight playoff losses, a main factor in extending their post-season futility. Cincinnati hasnt won a playoff game since the 1990 season, which ties for the sixth-longest such stretch in NFL history.Although hes gotten his team to the playoffs in each of his four seasons, Daltons legacy so far is more about how hes fallen apart in the biggest games. Hell have another chance to change his reputation on Sunday when the Bengals (10-5-1) play at Indianapolis (11-5).Winning in general is how quarterbacks are judged, Dalton said on Wednesday. If you win a lot in the regular season but you havent won a lot in the post-season, then theyre going to say that you couldnt do something.Theres always going to be something that you havent done or couldnt do, he said. Thats just the nature of it.During the regular season, Dalton has been as good as anyone in Bengals history. Hes won 63 per cent of his games, the best by a Bengals quarterback. He and Baltimores Joe Flacco are the only quarterbacks to lead their teams to the playoffs in each of their first four seasons during the Super Bowl era.Flacco won a Super Bowl. Dalton has yet to win anything in the post-season. During two losses in Houston and one last season at home against San Diego, Dalton has thrown for one touchdown and six interceptions, leaving him with a post-season passer rating of 56.2.Dalton is one loss shy of tying Warren Moon for most consecutive opening-round defeats by a starting quarterback.Dalton was virtually mistake-free during the Bengals 3-0 start this season. During the last five games, hes thrown seven interceptions and had a game-turning fumble on a handoff.As Ive said, this is still a process, offensive co-ordinator Hue Jackson said. I think hes done some really good things; I think there are some plays he wishes he had back.But hes a seasoned, veeteran player whos been in this situation before and now its time to come out on the other side of it, Jackson added. Ryan Getzlaf Jersey. So he understands the environment were going into, he understands all the elements that are laid before him — I think our whole team does.The Bengals had their worst offensive showing of the season at Indianapolis on Oct. 19, failing to cross midfield until the fourth quarter during a 27-0 loss, their first shutout in five years. With receiver A.J. Green sidelined by an injured right big toe, Dalton completed only 18 of 38 for 126 yards and was sacked three times.Its unclear whether Green will be available for the rematch. He got a concussion during a loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday night and was held out of practice on Wednesday. He has to pass concussion tests before he can practice or play.Daltons teammates have tried to take some of the focus off the quarterbacks post-season failures by sharing the blame.All of us have lost together, left tackle Andrew Whitworth said on Wednesday. The truth of the matter is, its not a negative to be in the playoffs every year. Thats a positive. Its just the negative is not taking advantage of the opportunity.So it means youve done a lot to get there every single year, he said. Now lets take advantage of that opportunity, and thats whats great about the playoffs.NOTES: Tight end Jermaine Gresham also sat out practice on Wednesday with a sore back. ... With wind chills well below freezing, the Bengals took buses to the University of Cincinnatis covered practice field. They dont have one of their own. ... The Bengals put receiver Dane Sanzenbacher on injured reserve with a concussion and promoted receiver Cobi Hamilton from the practice squad. Hamilton was with the Bengals in the preseason, spent three games with Philadelphia, and rejoined Cincinnatis practice squad.___Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL Cheap Canadiens Jerseys Cheap Predators Jerseys Cheap Devils Jerseys Cheap Islanders Jerseys Cheap Rangers Jerseys Cheap Senators Jerseys Cheap Flyers Jerseys Cheap Penguins Jerseys Cheap Sharks Jerseys Cheap Blues Jerseys Cheap Lightning Jerseys Cheap Maple Leafs Jerseys Cheap Canucks Jerseys Cheap Golden Knights Jerseys Cheap Capitals Jerseys Cheap Winnipeg Jets Jerseys ' ' '