By VINCE MADURI
ORLANDO, Fla.– The Disney Pro Soccer Classic continued Wednesday with a few convincing wins on day two.
The Columbus Crew rolled over the Philadelphia Union in the day’s opening match, with the tandem of Ethan Finlay and Ryan Finley doing the damage.
The Montreal Impact joined the Crew as teams with two wins to start the Disney Classic, beating the Tampa Bay Rowdies, with Marco DiVaio leading the way with two goals.
Sporting KC defeated D.C. United in a battle of Eastern Conference rivals, with Bobby Convey and Soony Saad providing second-half goals in a 2-0 victory.
Toronto FC eased their way to a 3-0 victory against Orlando City, though their defense showed signs of weakness against the USL Pro side. Three second-half goals by three different players allowed TFC to cruise to their first pre-season win under new head coach Ryan Nelsen.
Here is a closer look at all of Wednesday’s Disney Pro Soccer Classic matches:
CREW ROUT UNION
The Crew have been the best looking team through two days in Orlando, following up a 1-0 victory against Toronto with a 4-0 thrashing of the Union on Wednesday. Both teams started 2nd team players but the Union never looked comfortable in the game and Columbus dominated possession from start to finish. Ryan Finley opened the scoring in the 28th minute after Danny O’Rourke slipped a ball behind the defense and Finley dribbled around the keeper and easily rolled the ball into the goal. Ethan Finlay took the game over after that scoring the next two goals and assisting on the fourth.
The overall impression from this game was the Crew have a chance to be pretty good this season. The addition of Oduro is showing early signs of being a success. A full season with Fedirico Higuin and Jairo Arrieta should be a major plus and the central midfield tandem Agustin Viana and Matias Sanchez looks solid. The depth in midfield and attack also looks decent with Ryan Finley, Ethan Finlay, Ben Speas, Tony Tchani and Danny O’Rourke all looking good in Orlando.
Philadelphia shouldn’t take much out of this one. Projected starters didn’t see any time and this was setup to be much more of a test for guys to either make the team or have increased roles. Should be noted, however, that no one showed particularly well out of that pool.
IMPACT CRUISE PAST ROWDIES
Montreal Impact didn’t look too challenged by a Rowdies team that had just been beaten by DC United 4-0 on day one. Felipe opened the scoring followed by a Marco Di Vaio brace and capped by a Sanna Nyassi breakaway goal.
The more important thing to take out of this game was the fact Montreal looked a little sloppy at times defensively against a team that failed to create much of anything against DC. Felipe looked like his dangerous self and Di Vaio finished chances like he knows how but the Impact looked a little disinterested in moments which led to the Rowdies goal in the 38th minute.
The counterattack Montreal deployed against Sporting Kansas City will probably be a better reflection on how this team will play under new coach Marco Schallibaum.
SPORTING KC TOP D.C. UNITED
D.C. United lost their preseason match-up with defending Eastern Conference champion Sporting Kansas City 2-0 as rain pounded down on the two teams Wednesday night. The match was largely attack free in the first half as Kansas City controlled the midfield but D.C.’s first team was well organized defensively. Bobby Convey opened the scoring in the 74th minute after cutting in from the left wing and firing a bullet into the top right corner. Soony Saad scored the game-clinching goal seven minutes later in the 81st.
The rain clearly effected the players’ intentions as for large portions of the game they played cautious, trying not to get injured. Outside of Sporting KC’s clean midfield play led by Benny Feilhaber and D.C.’s well organized starting defense, there were few aspects which stood out. Bobby Convey looks like he’s fighting for a job right now as he was energetic and active, switching back and forth from left wing to right with C.J. Sapong. The veteran’s efforts were obviously later rewarded. Jerome Mechack looked strong again for SKC, but for a different reason. On day one, he seemed to be trying to showcase his attacking skills, which he did well but it sometimes left him out of position. His positioning was straightened out by Wednesday, though, and he really looks like he fits in very well with Kansas City.
D.C. United’s young DP Rafael made a late debut with the second team and was largely left running off-ball. He did, however, have one late chance with a one-time volley that barely skipped high.
TFC ROUTS ORLANDO CITY, BUT SHOW FLAWS
Toronto spent the majority of the first half of their match-up with USL Pro side Orlando City defending for their lives as the Lions created chance after chance, squandering a few seemingly sure goals in the process. The Reds rebounded in the second half after adding Emery Welshman and Taylor Morgan to the attack. Morgan scored the opening goal in the 53rd minute after dribbling around the Orlando goalkeeper Gallardo, Terry Dunfield followed up with a penalty kick conversion in the 72nd minute after a hand ball in the box and Jonathan Osorio finished it off with a goal in the 87th minute.
Orlando City’s Adama Mbengue was sent off following the Dunfield goal after the young midfielder hit Kyle Bekker in the face.
Even though Toronto walks away with a win, the first half could have written an entirely different story had Orlando taken their chances. The Reds could not maintain possession and did not defend particularly well with Danny Califf and Darren O’Dea manning the center back positions. Orlando could have scored at least two goals, once being called back for offside and another instance where Long Tan should have converted a sitter off a cross but failed to open his body properly and scrubbed the ball.
Toronto is going through a transition and will need to defend much better than this if they plan on surprising anyone this year.