||3 – 3||TORONTO FC|
Bruin 73', 90'
Koevermans 22', 45'
|16||Shots on Goal||13|
|4||Shots on Target||5|
Coming in expecting a loss, TFC fans probably got a bit of a surprise this evening...that's if they were just tuning in to the first half. A goal from Jeremy Hall in the 13th minute, coupled with two Danny Koevermans strikes at the 22nd and 45th minute marks, countered by a Bobby Boswell strike at the 20th saw TFC race out to a 3-1 lead at the half. Sadly, two Will Bruin goals within the last twenty minutes smashed any hopes for a league road win as the game ended in a 3-all draw.
The game started with TFC's defence gently taking the Houston offense's blunt attacks, with few and far chances in between, though ominously for later in the game, there were a couple of free headers in the box that Houston just couldn't take advantage of. But that suddenly changed in the 13th minute, when off TFC's first corner of the game Torsten Frings' kick was not properly cleared by the Houston backline, which allowed a freed Jeremy Hall to bury a shot past Tally Hall, with Ryan Johnson standing offside and clearly interfering with play, but that wasn't called so it's all good, and putting TFC into the lead early into the match. Much like the Kansas game, this shot bounced off both posts, but happily bounced in off the second rather than out.
Seven minutes later, Bobby Boswell responded for the Orange shirts with a powerful header past Milos Kocic to tie the game at ones. But before you can say "hold the phones", Ryan Johnson took the ball coast-to-coast, leading to a cross to Koevermans who made no mistakes and put the Reds back in front again. And to the surprise of many, a header by Koevermans put TFC 3-1 up at the death of the first half, making many wonder if the heat was getting to them.
At half, it seemed that TFC actually came to play, while Houston and their backline seemed to have taken the Reds far too lightly. Julian de Guzman was having an excellent game, keeping the midfield shape intact. But alas, once JDG was subbed off...the dream turned into a nightmare. Two strikes from the combination of Geoff Cameron and Will Bruin 17 minutes apart on growing Houston pressure turned a 3-1 lead into a precarious 3-3 draw. Nothing else could be solved in additional time, and the game ended that way.
Believe it or not, the win was lost when Julian de Guzman was subbed off. Hard to believe, but the red headed stepchild of TFC's three DPs actually did what he was supposed to do: marshall the midfield, and keep the Houston defenders at bay. When he was removed in favour of Reggie Lambe, the entire backline seemed to have lost a field, which allowed the Dynamo to attack relentlessly -- and more importantly, allowing the deadly Cameron/Bruin combination enough room to maneuver, a deadly mistake that almost took the single point away.
The backline, as atrocious as always, held on for over seventy minutes. It's definitely disappointing to have such an excellent effort end in such a whimper, which brings into question the decision to send Luis Silva, and the TFC three home -- but given how badly Miguel Aceval has played for the Reds this season, the question of "would he have made any difference?" probably wouldn't have factored into the discussion. But seeing Dicoy Williams back on the pitch is definitely a sight for sore eyes.
Offensively, it speaks volumes on a team that is supposedly so badly broken down, that they were able to reclaim a lead so quickly after the Boswell equalizer in the first half. Clearly the Dynamo were taking the Reds lightly, and their backline showed this fact painfully, but to be able to strike back so quickly is definitely an encouraging sign in a game that could have been so much more.
Meanwhile, the Reds head home to take on New England this Saturday; the Revs are sitting seventh in the Eastern Conference, and with a packed schedule and the CONCACAF Champions League group stages fast approaching -- any traction they can gain will be priceless.