Hamid vs. Defoe
Bill Hamid managed to make some highlight reel saves denying Jermaine Defoe on the England international's first three shot attempts. Unfortunately, the former Tottenham striker got a fourth try, which he converted for the game-winner. There's one thing every one of these sequences had in common: they all involved United's defenders running at Hamid's goal as Toronto broke with speed.
Round 1: Hamid
Christian Fernandez gets caught in possession, and the Reds (Greys?) are off to the races. Gilberto gets the ball in stride from Jackson, and the speedy Brazilian finds Defoe on the weak side. Thankfully, Defoe goes for the nutmeg, which Hamid had closed up.
Round 2: Hamid
Jonathan Osorio carries the ball toward midfield and lofts it into the path of Jackson, once again making Christian his... you know. Jackson tracks the ball down on the endline and cuts it back for Defoe, coming across the goal to the near post (Dear United forwards: Take notes). It's no more than a half-chance, really, as Defoe has nowhere to go but the near post, which Hamid had well covered.
Round 3: Hamid (+ Post)
This started off as nothing more than a hopeful long ball from the Toronto back line, but Gilberto heads it down for Jackson and then outruns Jeff Parke to receive the throughball from his countryman. His run pulls Boswell out of position, and Gilberto manages to cut both United center backs out with his crossing pass. Thankfully Sean Franklin tracks Defoe to make the finish more difficult, and Hamid gets some help from the post.
Round 4: Defoe
This one rightfully should be labeled as Hamid vs. Gilberto, as that was the initial shot, but it's Defoe who finished the chance, and this fits my narrative structure better. I've already broken down the goal in more detail, but suffice to say for this post that Michael Bradley, Bobby Boswell and Jeff Parke make quite the tragicomedic troupe when they want to be.
Every Single United Fan: SHOOT IT
Given the Black-and-Red's reliance on long-range shots last year, I'm actually not totally mad at Luis Silva for passing to Nick DeLeon on this play, especially with the run Nicky makes. It's a little bit too fine of a needle to thread, though, and the shot might have been the better play here. What I am much less happy about is Eddie Johnson spectating in the first part of the play and running toward the far corner - not even the far post, he's moving away from the goal - at the end of it. GAM took the play off, I suppose.
MB90 gets needlessly vicious
As the Toronto FC commentary team pointed out in realtime, Michael Bradley had no chance to win this ball against Davy Arnaud. This is the best angle of the collision I could find, but the wider angle better demonstrates Bradley's lateness on the play. Steve Goff reported on Twitter that Bradley visited Arnaud in the locker room after the game and that the DC midfielder is not concussed, but I have to wonder whether the DisCo will get involved here, as MB90's endangering the safety of his opponent should have drawn a card and didn't.
Of course, Arnaud wasn't the only person that Bradley managed to down over the course of the game. Here's the man in the middle doing his own impression of United's midfield.
Poor Silvio Petrescu - I've heard that the BMO Field press box actually erupted in cheers when this happened - though that would have happened no matter who had the whistle under Bradley's foot.
It's not a GIF, but I'll leave you with a shot of Arnaud apres-Bradley.
My poor husband! Ouch!! pic.twitter.com/jNNwV2leOS
— Stephanie Arnaud (@SArnaud0911) March 23, 2014