Toronto FC's surprising draw against Sporting Kansas City was like a microcosm of how their rollercoaster season has gone so far. The result was decent, but did not come without skepticism and will do little to quell the concerns of Toronto supporters. The team were poor when they had the ball but were ultimately, once again, able to get the goals they required.
Bradley Orr played hero for TFC for the second straight week, scoring the club's second equalizing goal in the 2-2 draw with the defending MLS Champions. Luke Moore had the other goal on a brilliant play from Jermain Defoe. Dom Dwyer had both goals for Sporting Kansas City and is now the league leader in that category.
Many factors were against Toronto on the day, mostly stemming from their own errors. The club spent the majority of the second half down a man as Captain Steven Caldwell had a rare mental lapse, going studs up on a standing midfield challenge and earning a straight red card. The man usually synonymous with mental lapses, Doneil Henry, would concede a controversial penalty leading to the 2-1 goal for Kansas. Whether or not the penalty was legitimate, the fact that Henry consistently gives referees reason to call fouls on him in the box is concerning to say the least.
Toronto also spent the majority of the match behind the ball, a testament to their poor possession play in the midfield. Kyle Bekker and Alvaro Rey have both continued their stretches of inconsistency, with the former failing to build off of the momentum of his best performance of the year. Colin Warner was good in his first start for Toronto but was clearly not acquired for his ability to possess the ball.
In the first half Kansas City, who had several injuries at the back only to get worse when Chance Myers went down in the 36th minute, invited Toronto to take control of the match. They did not bite, however, preferring instead to look as awkward as possible every time they controlled the ball. This continues to be a huge concern, especially when Toronto's preferred midfielders are not available.
But Toronto can take solace in the fact that their strike force was able to hand them this result. With little to no service, Jermain Defoe was able to create an impressive amount of offense, including an excellent setup of Moore for his goal. Moore, continues to be positive as he has provided the additional goalscoring that this club has required through two matches.
The backline once again dealt fairly well with the incredible amount of pressure that the club brings on itself. Besides the aforementioned lapses in mentality from Caldwell and Henry, Toronto were able to deal with Kansas's attack. Mark Bloom had another quiet yet quality match, continuing to solidify his spot in the starting eleven. Nick Hagglund is taking the inside lane towards the starting centreback position, especially with his excellent setup of Orr's late goal.
Ryan Nelsen has finally consistently been able to make the most of a roster in which he was missing three of his preferred midfielders. His insertion of Bradley Orr into the defensive midfield continued to pay dividends in this match. Meanwhile, Nelsen has used his latest tool, Moore, incredibly well so far. With the club unable to generate anything going forward, he substituted Daniel Lovitz and Moore into the fray. Not too long after Toronto had scored.
At 4-4-1 Toronto FC have had a positive start to the season, exemplified by a number of good results despite the odds being stacked against them. However, they have done so in a fashion that is far from appealing, and equally far from reassuring. Where they go from here could either be up or down, but at least they have given themselves the option to do either.