Eastern Conference Notes: Winter satisfied, Ngwenya struggling & more

Eastern Conference Notes: Winter satisfied, Ngwenya struggling & more

MLS- Toronto FC

Eastern Conference Notes: Winter satisfied, Ngwenya struggling & more

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 Photo by Nick Turchiaro/ISIphotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

If one thing has become clear during Aron Winter's tenure in charge of Toronto FC thus far, it's that the stern Dutch coach is hardly ever pleased with his side.

After Toronto used a Maicon Santos equalizer to pick up a 1-1 draw at Vancouver in the first leg of the Canadian Championship on Wednesday, Winter conceded he was satisfied with the outcome — even if he wasn't in his team's overall play.

"We didn’t play well," he said after the match. "But sometimes even when you don’t play well, to get a good result, it's good."

Here is some more news from around the Eastern Conference:

CHICAGO FIRE

Having played his way into the starting lineup after finding scarce minutes his rookie year, Corben Bone feels like he is a good fit for the advanced midfield role he has been playing in Chicago's new 4-1-4-1 alignment.

"My style is short passes and connecting with people and then playing one-twos, being dynamic and mobile," Bone told the Daily Herald in Chicago. "So yeah, I think the formation we're playing, what [coach Carlos de los Cobos] has said so far, he kind of likes that style of play.

COLUMBUS CREW

Although the Crew sits just two points out of first place in the Eastern Conference, its eight-goal total is the second-worst in the league. As a result, coach Robert Warzycha is looking for some improved precision in the attacking third.

"We have to be more decisive, basically, with the last pass," he said this week at training. "Whoever we have on the field – whether it's two forwards, three forwards or two wingers and a forward – we're creating chances but we're not scoring the goals. The chances are very, very clear. We have to be sharper in front of the goal."

D.C. UNITED

With strikers Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff suffering from a strained hamstring and groin, respectively, United will be depending on its depth in a friendly against Ajax on Sunday and possibly in the team's return to league play the following week at Portland. Among the options is Joseph Ngwenya, who is still looking for his first MLS goal with United.

"For me right now, it seems like I'm a second late to everything," Ngwenya said after United's 1-1 tie with Colorado last weekend. "And for a forward, that's all it takes. I just have to keep working because I'm sure I'll get a goal eventually in one of these games and get us a win."

HOUSTON DYNAMO

Without a true playmaker in central midfield, the Dynamo has largely depended on service from the flanks — especially from the lethal left foot of winger Brad Davis. With 13 goals, a total only surpassed by Los Angeles, the strategy seems to be working.

"Overall, the more you put the ball in the box with numbers around it, the more you can create some dangerous situations," coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com. "And the more you put your foot on the ball, the more you can probe, and it can open things up for you, which is what we want to do."

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

Coming off back-to-back shutouts against Colorado and Vancouver, New England's defense appears to be coming together. With recent injuries to centerback Franco Coria and left back Didier Domi, the team has seen reserves Ryan Cochrane and Darrius Barnes step into the lineup without missing a beat.

"I think as time goes on, we're coming together a little better," defender Kevin Alston said to ESPN Boston. "I think we have a good core in the back and we're just trying to be on the same page and communicate well."

NEW YORK RED BULLS

Once a focal point of the Red Bulls' attack, winger Dane Richards has evolved into a complementary role following the acquisitions in the last year of players such as Thierry Henry, Luke Rodgers and Dwayne De Rosario. Although he isn't completely pleased with his one goal on the season, he realizes he needs to not press and simply continue playing his part.

"Fans expect goals, but I supply the crosses, I make the runs," Richards told MLSsoccer.com. "I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and not change anything. I wouldn't say I'm happy, but the offense has played well, done some good things."

PHILADELPHIA UNION

After rotating through a series of players at right back in 2010, Union coach Peter Nowak has settled on Sheanon Williams at the position this season. The 21-year-old has been a key piece of the Union's stellar back line, and he also showed his versatility when he slid inside to fill in for the sick Danny Califf during a 1-0 loss to Portland earlier this month.

"I feel really good about my game right now, and I know how hard it was to get to this point," Williams said to PhiladelphiaUnion.com. "At the same time, I know how much work goes into training every day. I come in with a good attitude every day and listen to the coaches. I trust my teammates and enjoy playing with them. It’s a great situation and I don’t take it for granted." 

SPORTING KANSAS CITY

With Kansas City sitting on a league-worst four points through seven games while enduring its long road trip to start the season, playmaker Ryan Smith pinpointed "confidence" as the root of the team's struggles in a live chat with fans on Wednesday.

"We know we have a team capable of winning," Smith wrote. "We've had a string of bad results obviously. The belief is there, it will always be there, but the confidence is what is low right now."

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