Lambe for Hall 45'
Wiedeman for Braun 45'
Rey for Morgan 76'
|Barson for Viana 79'
Finlay for Oduro 86'
Meram for Anor 89'
Well, I guess they aren't completely hopeless in front of the net after all. Either that, or it was a large slice of luck.
But nevertheless, a 400+ minute goalless drought is over, and a six game winless streak broken as TFC take all three points on a soggy afternoon at BMO. Two late goals (Hmm, where have we heard this one before?) both nearing the end of the game but this time for the boys in red. Dominic Oduro opened up the scoring early in the first on a poor defensive effort from Ashtone Morgan and positioning gaffe by Joe Bendik. But as the rain poured, so too did the Reds as they overwhelmed the Crew -- Jonathan Osorio's goal in the 87th, followed by Andrew Wiedeman's fourth added time minute winner were a result of the last minute push by TFC.
Yes, the game was morose at best for the first 80 minutes, with TFC pretty much carrying forward with the form they had against the Red Bulls last week. Without Danny Koevermans and Robert Earnshaw in the lineup, where would the goals come from? Without them, Justin Braun and Jeremy Brockie were tasked with trying to find a way through. Steven Caldwell would continue to lead the defense, which was unspectacular but at least got the job done last week. Would lightning strike twice in two weeks?
And for the first few minutes, it didn't seem like that the defense would have much to do. The much talked about Costa Rican Jairo Arrieta was available in time for the match, and was paired with usual suspect Argentinian Federico Higuain in the Columbus attack. But that pairing would get to do very little in the outset, with TFC winning a trio of corners within the first 16 minutes. But once again the lack of finishing ability by Toronto reared its ugly head and nothing came of those chances. Frustrating, but there is a reason why the team hadn't scored since July 3rd against Montreal, and that lack of quality up top would once again come back to haunt the Reds.
All too often, when all the usual suspects are kept quiet it always seems to be someone else that torments Toronto, but today it would have to be Dominic Oduro once again. Oduro of course scored the winning goal the last time these two teams met, and in the 17th minute looked to have done just that; a shot 25 yards out would beat Joe Bendik. It was soft, and Oduro pretty much made young Morgan look like amateur hour. But was that unexpected? For the jaded supporter nursing a stiff drink over the lack of initiative in the face of chances, it probably wasn't.
The game evened out a little after that, Oduro would get another chance, and Arrieta would get a shot on goal in the middle of the half. However Bendik would make a couple of spectacular saves to somewhat make up for his error on the Oduro goal. The Reds kept on pushing, without much success - It seemed as though the team was collectively missing an instruction manual to get the ball past Andy Grunenbaum. Harsh as it may seem, the dearth of offensive power was painfully obvious until the third minute of first half stoppage, when Brockie got on the end of a Braun feed that Agustin Viana barely got a touch on to deny what was surely an equalizer. So close, but so far. It was another frustrating display, and Ryan Nelsen likely saw enough to actually make changes.
And change he did; swapping the largely ineffective Braun for Andrew Wiedeman (I'll allow you a moment to insert your choice of snide comment here), and replacing Jeremy Hall with Reggie Lambe. Wiedeman had seen little time since Nelsen took over, but was key in the Reds' last victory at BMO Field, a 2-1 win over Colorado last July. Perhaps Nelsen was aware and took the gamble, not knowing that it would pay off once again.
...or probably not, as the removal of Braun meant that Osorio was allowed to be pushed forward into an attacking position, somewhere that he has shone before. The young Bramptonite didn't see much action at the recent Gold Cup, but in moving forward he was put into a position of effectiveness. However credit must be given to Bobby Convey, who had a quiet match but played the secondary hero part in our story. Also to note was the play of Matias Laba, who once again largely controlled the midfield.
But for most of the second half, the teams traded chances, a monotony that was pretty much disrupted by the introduction of Alvaro Rey in favour of Ashtone Morgan in the 76th minute. Rey would try for goal six minutes after he was introduced, an attempt that would sail high over Grunenbaum.
But cometh the rain, which had been steady, cometh a hero. Convey, who had been having a quiet but solid match, fed Brockie who found a hard charging Osorio about 20 yards out. The young mid latched onto the ball, ran past Chad Marshall and tipped in the equalizer. It was almost a nothing attempt, and it somehow turned into something. Steven Caldwell would almost double the sparse BMO crowd's joy three minutes later, a Convey corner found the captain, who would head it right into the post. Columbus defenders breathed a huge sigh of relief, but what came next would stun everyone.
Yep, it would be Wiedeman, villified so often as an excess of the Paul Mariner era and a victim of his own incompetence, who would seal the deal. Again, with pressure mounting from the Reds on the Columbus goal, Convey would float a cross to Wiedeman in the fourth minute of stoppage (mostly thanks to a lot of flopping around from various Crew players), who would tap home the winner. Stunned silence rolled across the land, as for once Toronto would deal the death time coup-de-grace on someone, rather than be on the receiving end. Referee Ismail Elfath would bring the affair to a close, and TFC moved up to 17 points on the season.
The effort definitely is there for the Reds, and today's efforts could be chalked up to massive flukes given the dearth of scoring menace with Koevermans and Earnshaw out and Forlan not interested in making the move northward. Still, one can't deny the solid efforts of Convey and the growing hero status of young Jonathan Osorio. Alvaro Rey didn't get to showcase very much in his short 15 minutes on the pitch, so the jury is still out on the Spaniard. With even more promised signings coming, things are definitely shifting. But today does show that there is at least some fight in this team.
Or it could just be the rain. Maybe a roof isn't what this team needs...?
* * *
WTR'S GOLDEN TROPHIES/KICKS TO THE GROIN...
|Golden Trophy: Matias Laba
||Ate the Crew midfield alive off-camera.
|Golden Trophy: Jonathan Osorio||Easy to see how this boy will be here a while.
|Kick to the Groin: Columbus Crew||If I wanted to watch the Ohio State Diving Team...|
|Golden Trophy: Bobby Convey
||Solid game, unsung hero for sure.
|Shots on Target||7||5|
|Passing Accuracy (%)||76||71|