Bad hair, no goal for you, Brek Shea! CREDIT: Layne Murdoch/Getty Images
||1 – 1||TORONTO FC|
|12||Shots on Goal||8|
|8||Shots on Target||4|
It seems like an easy premise for three points: FC Dallas, mired in a 11-game winless streak and only starting to get players like David Ferreira back into the lineup. Seems simple, right? Except for the stifling 37-degree weather in Texas, and a poorly-defended corner, it could have been so much more.
That poorly-defended corner in the fifth minute which turned into a Zach Loyd header gave the Texan Hoops the lead, but a late first half flick by Danny Koevermans past Kevin Hartman tied things up. But despite Toronto FC playing much better and gaining more possession and chances in the second half, the MLS's Basement Bowl ended as a 1-1 draw.
Some might call it luck and chance that TFC weren't behind at the break, given how poorly the Reds had played. Brek Shea and Fabian Castillo was allowed to run amok in the Toronto end of the park, creating numerous chances that forced a number of scrambles in the back four -- and that failure to put a leash on Shea and Castillo would come back to haunt the Reds, as a poorly-defended corner (the Hoops' second) was lashed in by Loyd to make it 1-0 for the home side.
The half continued as such, with the Reds seemingly a shadow of themselves from the previous few games -- maybe it was the heat, or maybe it's the grueling string of matches; but some simply weren't up to scratch: Ashtone Morgan was burned a few times in the early stages by Castillo and Daniel Hernandez. It looked like a long night for the TFC faithful, but that would change shortly.
And who else to change those fortunes, but the man with the hot foot? Koevermans was found by Eric Avila in the box in the 31st minute, after Dallas showed a bit of TFC Brand© Defending in front of Hartman. The Dutchman nonchalantly deflected Avila's cross/shot past a wrongfooted Hartman for his ninth goal of the season, and the game would remain that way until halftime.
Dallas was sensing a chance in the heat, and decided to gamble a little by introducing Ferreira in the 58th minute to get a win. But try as they might, neither side could come up with the chances -- although late sub Nick Soolsma came close but just couldn't connect to a cross that was a prime candidate for the winning goal, and Dallas required a great save from Hartman to turn away a Koevermans header that seemed bound for the top corner.
So now the Reds are undefeated in 5 games, and this was the second game in a row that they had rescued a point after not only conceding the majority of possession to the opposition, but also conceding an early goal. While this will be encouraging to Paul Mariner and the coaching staff, it wouldn't be insane to suggest that some would feel aggrieved that the Reds had left two points on the table again, if not for some better finishing near the end.
Meanwhile, the chippiness of tonight's game may raise some injury concerns: Terry Dunfield copped a Ferreira screamer in the face (what on Earth is it with TFC players getting hit in the face lately?) which kept him down for a while, while scoring machine Koevermans may have picked up a knock near the end -- and with Joao Plata all but gone and Alessandro Nesta heading to Montreal, relief will be sorely needed, as another bye week approaches.
Toronto will now travel to Philadelphia for a Sunday afternoon matinee with the Union, sadly their win over the LA Galaxy last night means it isn't a chance for TFC to climb out of the bottom spot, before heading home to face the Vancouver Whitecaps for the third time this season as the games just keep on coming.