TORONTO, CANADA - August 15: Qunicy Amarikwa #18 of Toronto FC slides past Rodney Wallace #22 of the Portland Timbers during MLS action at the BMO Field August 15, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
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||SHOTS ON GOAL||5
Will you meet me in the middle, will you meet me in the air?
Will you love me just a little, just enough to show you care?
Well I tried to fake it, I don't mind sayin', I just can't make it...
- "Sister Golden Hair", America
Well, another day, another draw after pulling one out from the fire. It's not the win we wanted, but if it wasn't for Darlington Nagbe's late strike, Eric Hassli's first goal for Toronto and Luis Silva's goals six minutes apart after 21st minute Sal Zizzo gimme would have stood up for three points, Granted, the team was without some key players, including Terry Dunfield, Doneil Henry, Ryan Johnson, Darren O'Dea and Dicoy Williams; but the fact that they clawed back, and came so close for the umpteenth time to getting three points out of none, well, you can draw your own conclusions there.
It's not like both teams didn't have chances, either. The game opened with a flurry of chances, with Kris Boyd opening up with an early shot two minutes in from Zizzo. The Reds would counter immediately a minute later after Rodney Wallace was called for a handball, which Torsten Frings would fire the subsequent free kick right into Donovan Ricketts. Hassli would come agonizingly close in 19th minute, before Zizzo would bury his chance two minutes later after being left alone in front of goal.
It would be towards the middle of the second half before Hassli would strike back for the home team, burying a Silva rebound off Ricketts in the 57th minute. Silva would then tally a goal for himself six minutes later, directing a Hassli tip into goal, sending the BMO faithful into a rapturous froth. Both goals were the product of some lax defending from the Timbers, which left both Silva and Hassli almost unmarked during their shots on goal.
But alas, once again it was the defence that killed off hopes of a home win, Nagbe putting home the winner two minutes after Hassli was subbed off -- the defence once again guilty of laxness, as it allowed Steven Smith an opening to Nagbe, who saved a point for the Pacific Northwesterners. It was not undeserved given the relative even play and the horrific defending by both sides, but for Toronto, they could have gotten so much more out of it.
However, tonight's bright light was perhaps Aaron Maund, who was making his first start in the place of the absent Terry Dunfield and the injured Jeremy Hall. While not perfect, there were glimpses of an able defender available for the future. Given that the defence did cough up the early and the late goals, it wasn't much -- but the ability to play was on show, and it defintely gives us a glimpse into the future. If there is one thing to put in their caps, they at least kept Kris Boyd quiet for the entire evening.
And despite the absence of Johnson, the forwards did not seem to be too far out of step. Hassli's goal marked his arrival as a Red, while Silva once again demonstrated that he is likely to be a part of the TFC future with his stellar play in both goals. Ashtone Morgan was under pressure for some parts of the evening from the Portland forwards, and despite a few bundles, was relatively solid. The midfield was relatively quiet in the evening, but largely kept to the script. Alas, it was those few moments that cost the Reds two points.
The international absences won't inspire much more confidence, given there will be two more World Cup qualifying matchday clusters coming up in the next two months (which will likely see the same players missing tonight go missing once more) -- but at least it stops the bleeding that had begun. With three critical conference matches coming up, followed by a crunch CONCACAF Champions League tilt against Santos Laguna, at least it evens the keel. They might not have made it to the win, but at least it wasn't a loss.
|A golden trophy to...Aaron Maund.
||Abily filled in for Terry Dunfield in the defensive line.
|A kick to the groin to...the defenders.
||Seriously, you couldn't hold on for just eight more minutes!?
|A golden trophy to...Eric Hassli.
||Scoring on the home debut, hugging Paul Mariner. Awww!
|A kick to the groin to...ticket holders.
||How many times to I have to say it? Get to BMO on time!
|A golden trophy to...Geoff Gamble.
||Not a badly called game, no complaints.|