Koevermans for Lambe 84'
Smith for Paponi 86'
Yep, this game could have been a lot worse after Andres Romero scored for the Impact 23 seconds in. But three successive goals by Jeremy Brockie, Steven Caldwell and Darren O'Dea in the span of 18 minutes would put TFC on the front foot. They would have the chances to put the game out of reach, but Hassoun Camara and Marco Di Vaio's strikes in two minutes would see the spoils shared. Some may see that as a bad thing, but when you really look at it, was it really that bad?
Sure, it was a chance to get all three points wasted, and most of the final 20 minutes Montreal did dominate a fair bit of the play. But it didn't mean that TFC didn't have some chances with the Kiwi loanee Brockie, who hit the post in the 90th minute. And let's be honest, the team could have collapsed like a bad souffle in the 2nd minute, but didn't. That's got to count for something, right?
And yes, things did start poorly. What was a pretty innocuous first run into the box from Andres Romero before even the smoke from the pre-game fireworks cleared, led to the opening goal. Darren O'Dea simply letting the chance in, failing to mark Romero. And with Joe Bendik out of the frame, it was an easy tap in for the Argentinian and just like that, it was 1-0 Montreal in probably the worst way possible, and with many fans barely in their seats. Watching on television it's hard to tell if any turned tail and ran, but it was probably tempting.
With that moment of madness over, TFC then began to take over gradually, and in the sixth minute found the equalizer. Montreal may be known for its offensive prowess, but defensively even with Alessandro Nesta in the back four it's recently shown a lot of rust, giving up four goals to Colorado just days before. And who else but Jeremy Brockie to make a mockery of them again, getting through traffic to deliver what was a beauty into the top netting. A calm finish from the Wellington Phoenix loanee, and all of a sudden we had a game.
And as if to almost double the home fans' pleasure, Montreal would concede a dangerous free kick that Steven Caldwell would put just wide. By that time you would be forgiven if you believed that something good was about to happen for Toronto, and it did: just 14 minutes later the porous Montreal defense would be shown up by the ex-Birmingham man, off a corner from SIlva that flew too far. Brockie would save it and cross again, and this time Caldwell would make it 2-1 Toronto out of almost nothing. O'Dea would add the third just minutes later, again on an almost nothing shot, but one strong enough to beat a sprawling Troy Perkins and about three Montreal defenders.
The Impact would spend the rest of the first half looking for something, but some hard tackles from the likes of Gale Agbossoumonde (in the place of the suspended Doneil Henry), Bobby Convey and Darel Russell would keep the likes of Di Vaio and company at bay. Montreal would open the second half with all guns ablazing, hoping to find a way back into the match, but the Reds would find their way into dangerous situations, Russell and Luis Silva, playing in the attacking playmaker role for the evening, would have back to back chances in the 60th minute; neither would put the game away decisively for the home side, something that they would rue.
And rue they did, Hassoun Camara would find his way to the ball, settle it down and blast it past Bendik in the 69th minute. Montreal had their lifeline, and less than a minute later the ever-dangerous Di Vaio would pick up on a Felipe Martins pass to tie things up. Strange, of course, that the Brazilian would be so capable of that after stopping the match twice in the first half after getting a cleat in the face from Russell in the latter stages of the first half. But we're not doctors, so it's hard to tell.
Both sides would keep trying to find a winner, and just by looking at the Montreal lineup you would think they would be the ones likely to get it, especially with the 75th minute approaching. Luis Silva was removed for Justin Braun to much consternation with 15 minutes left, while fans were hoping they would get a glimpse of Danny Koevermans instead to see if the returning Dutchman could somehow find the winner they so craved; Matias Laba would keep that dream alive amidst heavy Montreal pressure, the young Argentinian showing his quickness and his ball-winning skills in the midfield. Koevermans would finally appear in the 84th minute for Reggie Lambe, but it would be Brockie that would come the closest, hitting the woodwork at the death of regular time. The added time would solve nothing, and the rivals walked off with the spoils shared.
Most of us aren't fond of the Impact, but playing them tonight showed some of the ugly spots, but also showed some of the bright spots that TFC still has. Without Jonathan Osorio, Matias Laba showed his talents in the mid, while Luis Silva once again demonstrated his playmaking excellence. Steven Caldwell and Brockie showed their worth at the front, and Gale Agbossoumonde had a passable match, despite the horror defending.
It's easy to get sucked into the whole negative nelly cabal, but sometimes, you just need just a spot of blue light...and who cares if it comes from Montreal? For the next week or so before the team travels to Kansas City, it's something to build on for sure.
* * *
WTR'S GOLDEN TROPHIES/KICKS TO THE GROIN...
|Golden Trophy: Jeremy Brockie
||Can we keep 'em? Can we keep 'em? Can we keep 'em?!
|Kick to the Groin: Baldomero Toledo
||Ever look up the word inconsistency? Well, you're there.
| Golden Trophy: Matias Laba
||A rocket beast in the mid. Oh my.
|Kick to the Groin: Darren O'Dea
||Horrendous defending so early in. Oh my goodness! But...
Golden Trophy: Darren O'Dea
||...he finally scored a goal. Nice work.
|Golden Trophy: Steven Caldwell
||Justified the extension of his stay.|
|Kick to the Groin: Felipe Martins
||Awww, muffin. Were you hurt? Need a ba-ba?|
|Kick to the Groin: Montreal supporters
||Nice effort on the 6-0 tifo. /sarcasm
|Shots on Target||7||5|
|Passing Accuracy (%)||76||75|