(And before you begin, check out the transcript from our very first CoverIt Live event...the above video will make more sense once you've taken a look at it!)
Well, here we are. Oh-and-seven with no end in sight. And it all looked sort of pleasant too, before the dreaded altitude, and the usual defensive brain farts ended any hope of ending it. But on the bright side, the team fought back from being down twice to bring the game level, and brought some pressure on RSL in what was a closer match than what the score line suggests.
The match started tenatively, but was turned on its head off a RSL corner from Alvaro Saborio in the seventh minute. An unmarked Kyle Beckerman was allowed to finish off a goalmouth scramble after Jamison Olave took advantage of Adrian Cann's decision to not challenge for the ball from a corner kick. Here we go again, we thought, as Cann and the rest of the TFC backline was completely caught unawares.
Then in the 23rd, Torsten Frings was asked to tie the match after Jamison Olave brought down Eric Avila in the penalty area. Silviu Petrescu pointed to the spot, and Frings duly fluffs the shot after Nick Rimado refused to make the first move, and the match stayed 1-0 for the Royals until halftime, not before a few RSL goals were correctly called back as offside.
But whatever happened in the closed doors during halftime, it worked. TFC came out charging, and a beautiful shot from Avila in the 48th found its way past Rimando for the tying goal. What followed was two absolutely stunning chances from Reggie Lambe and Avila, the latter of which bounced agonizing off the crossbar and out of play.
TFC dominated the start of the second half, until, as always they eventually let in a goal from another mistake, in the 57th minute when an unfortunate own goal off Richard Eckersley's knee went in, restoring RSL's lead. By that time, the Reds looked beaten and tired, and most supporters were reaching for their hard liquors cabinet bracing for the inevitable defeat.
But the Reds fought back, and out of a corner in the 77th minute, a Miguel Aceval (yes, that's right...there's no typo) corner found Doneil Henry's head, and the ball was in the net and the game was even once more. But a point was not to be, as once again the porous defence was exploited by Beckerman, whose tip to Johnny Steele (cue the adult film name jokes...) in the dying moments of the match sealed the deal.
Again, defensive errors made a difference, but the Reds showed a resilience that is rarely seen; having fought back to equalize a match twice. The loss will be hard to take (the tears on Henry's face post-match, and Aron Winter's post-game press conference says it all), but it showed that when TFC needed a hero, and they wanted one, there is one amongst their ranks to save themselves. Still, a thorough look-through of the defensive setup will be required -- and fast.
So does TFC need a hero? They've got plenty....they just have to find the inner heroes within themselves. And now, bruised, bloodied and battered the Reds head into the Canadian Championship on Wednesday night, for the first leg of a two stage affair with the Montreal Impact; but despite the loss, they can walk in on a high. It may not be the moral (or physical) victory they wanted, but it's definitely a sign that shows TFC is willing to fight to claw its way off the mat.