I do not think it is an exageration to say that if Toronto FC had lost this game against Tauro their season would have, for all intents and purposed, been over. It would have seen them slip further back of the top two in their CCL group along with being all but mathematically eliminated from the MLS playoff hunt. They got that win they needed and now they can remain relevant in at least one competition for another week. The 1-0 win was not really what most fans would have been looking for but it was a solid team effort and despite never really taking it to their opponents Toronto looked comfortable for much of the match.
The goal that saw Toronto win the match once again came from Danny Koevermans who increased his total for the club to 7 goals since joining in late July. The goal may have been slightly questionable for offside but Danny K did will to rise up and head the ball in before paying the price as the Tauro keeper crashed in to him leaving him in pain. It looked like it could have been bad news for Toronto but in the end it appeared he had just been sacked and was able to return to play. The win moves Toronto FC into second place in the group for now with 6 points from their first 4 matches. That means that a win against either FC Dallas or Pumas should be enough to see them advance.
The big news for this game was probably the fact that Winter decided to leave Julian De Guzman on the bench to start the match and went with Dunfield in the centre of the park instead. The rest of the lineup was basically as expected with the team lining up in that 4-3-3 on paper but once again Frings spent much of the game in the back line helping out Harden and Iro. That move paid off once again as Frings was able to ensure that the back line stayed organized and they allowed very few chances to the visitors. The trade off of course was that Frings was then not available to help the team going forwards and I think that showed as TFC really did not create that many chances on the night.
The match turned out to be a slightly chippy affair with several bad tackles, a handful of yellow cards, and even a bit of shoving after the half time whistle. Things never got out of control though as for once in a CONCACAF match we saw a fairly good showing from the official. Some of the cases where he gave yellow cards or where he decided not to I might have disagreed but on the whole it was a well called game. For the most part play the game was allowed to run and it turned in to a very back and forth game with Toronto slightly edging the match in terms of chances and possession in the first half though they were unable to create much in terms of real scoring chances.
The Koevermans goal came in the 40th minute and the move started with a good run and cross by Ashtone Morgan who continues to show real promise playing at left back for TFC. His cross came to Ryan Johnson who played it back to Peri Marosevic who headed it towards the net but it required another great headed effort from the big dutch striker before it ended up in the corner of the net. Koevermans did well to get his head to the ball and flick it over the keeper who was closing him down very quickly. He showed great poise to be able to finish just before getting run over. Having been knocked over by the keeper Koevermans spent some time on the ground before making his way to the sideline which was sure to have left many TFC fans feeling worried that he might be out for some time. In the end it was just a knock to his man parts that led to him needing a few minutes to regroup and he was able to return to play until being subbed off in the second half.
In the second half the visitors seemed to be really pressing to find an equalizer and the lack of Toronto players in the midfield was starting to show as Tauro were controlling the ball for extended periods of time. The introduction of Stinson and De Guzman helped to change this slightly as they were more willing to get stuck in to tackles then Marosevic had been and as the half went on TFC seemed to start to press toward a second that would have wrapped things up. The second goal never came and the team were left sweating it right down to the final minute as the match ended with a Tauro free kick just on the edge of the box that was blocked by the wall.
Along with his involvement in the games only goal Ashton Morgan showed a lot of promise once again for Toronto FC. He proved that he had more then enough pace to get forward and when the opportunity was there he managed to swing in some decent looking crosses. He almost managed to open the scoring early in the match as his ball from out wide drifted over the keepers out stretched arms but also wide of the post. On the other side of the field Richard Eckersley was also looking lively as he managed to get foward and create several dangerous runs but for the most part his crosses in the end were lacking. Ecks did manage to create one of the highlights of the night though with his bicycle kick to clear the ball when he was trapped down by his own corner flag.
On the whole it was a solid performance from Toronto FC and the most important thing is that they got the result they needed. With the win they still have a legitimate chance of advancing from this group if they can go out and get a good result in one of the two remaining games. For now though TFC fans will be keeping an eye on tomorrow nights match with FC Dallas playing host to Pumas in a match that should help to give a clearer picture of who TFC will be battling with for that second spot.