Toronto FC has finally caught a break. After three straight weeks of controversial decisions going against them, the club turned from victims into bandits and stole a point at Gilette Stadium today. TFC held on for dear life to grab a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution, just the sixth time they have ever taken points out of Foxborough.
Sebastian Giovinco scored his third goal of the season to tie the game in the 58th minute. This came after a header from Kelyn Rowe put the home side up 1-0 just 14 minutes into the match.
Wherever Toronto FC goes of late, it seems that controversy follows. All week the club has been talking about how, eventually, the calls that they have had going against them will even out. Today that played out in full.
Toronto FC arguably got away with two fouls in their box today, one of which led to the play where they scored their opening goal. Justin Morrow also arguably could have been sent off, and might still receive a suspension from the league after a second half foul.
That would be a big blow to Toronto's backline as Morrow had a great match today on the left side of Toronto's backline. For all the other concerns surrounding this team, that backline has held strong and have only allowed one goal per game this season. That's a massive improvement on last season, especially on the road.
For the second straight game, Clint Irwin was the key to Toronto's backline strength with an outstanding match in net. He made game-saving stops in the opening minutes of both halves, and otherwise did enough to secure the club a big point. He made seven saves during the match.
While the backline has tangibly improved, there are still some concerning habits developing. Notably, for the fourth time in five matches the club allowed the first goal. Fighting from behind is never a good policy in Major League Soccer, especially when on the road.
This time Toronto's slow start stemmed from a poor tactical decision by manager Greg Vanney, who tried to deploy the team in a 4-4-2 formation. The club struggled to build anything through the midfield, and Giovinco and Jozy Altidore were often forced to drop back to get touches on the ball.
To Vanney's credit, however, he did change the club's style when it was clear that things weren't working. It took until halftime for those changes to really make an impact, but reverting back to the club's more familiar 4-3-3 contributed to the equalizing goal.
It also opened up Altidore, who had a massive second half in his first start of the season. The American striker was the architect behind Toronto's only goal of the match. He created several other chances as well, before being replaced in the 70th minute.
This is good news, as the club's offensive struggles have continued into the match. While they have only allowed a goal per game, they have only scored 6 goals in 5 matches. The team also hasn't created very many chances, remaining near the bottom of the league in shots per game. This lack offense isn't all that concerning, that is until the club returns home.
For now, this can be considered a solid result in a venue where Toronto rarely earns points. Luck may have played a major factor in earning them those points, but it has also cost them points in the past. Just like refereeing decisions, it tends of even out.