In a game that they really needed to win, Toronto FC required a late equalizer to come away with a 2-2 draw. Jozy Altidore’s 90th minute header meant the reds leave Columbus with a single point, one that keeps them on the playoff bubble.
The performance, however, left plenty to be desired as Toronto looked lethargic at both ends of the pitch for most of the match. It will certainly leave plenty of questions regarding tactics, personnel and injuries during the coming week.
Jonathan Osorio scored the opener for Toronto FC, while Pedro Santos and David Accam replied to the host Crew.
The opening 45 minutes was a relative slog between two sides who knew how devastating a loss would be to their seasons. Neither team were really able to set the temp of a half with very few moments of note.
Toronto FC enjoyed the vast majority of possession, with 62 per cent, but struggled to move the ball through a makeshift diamond midfield with any pace or purpose. Columbus, meanwhile, had the better chances in the opening half but even those weren’t really clear cut.
Just before the half, however, came a rare moment of quality. Altidore shifted to the left side of the pitch, creating an overload that meant the Crew vacated the middle of the pitch. He then picked a perfect pass to Jonathan Osorio, who had a clear path to the top of the box before unleashing a bullet into the back of the net.
It was the Canadian midfielder’s fourth goal of the season. It was also Toronto’s only shot on target during the opening half demonstrating how little they created otherwise.
The second half began with a change for Toronto FC as Justin Morrow was injured and could not continue meaning Richie Laryea replaced him for the second 45.
It didn’t take the Crew long to level the match during the second interval. Will Trapp’s ball over the top in the 48th minute found Pedro Santos, who’s incredible volley nestled into the bottom corner.
The goal seemed to give the Crew and their fans plenty of confidence as they enjoyed a number of other chances thereafter. Luis Argudo, in particular, came incredibly close to scoring the 67th minute, however his shot was redirected onto the crossbar by Quentin Westberg.
The reds were also lucky that Gyasi Zardes did not have his shooting boots on, as the Columbus striker squandered a number of chances.
Greg Vanney made some surprising second half substitutions in order to try and swing the momentum back in his team’s favour. Marky Delgado replaced Nick DeLeon and Drew Moor came on for Patrick Mullins in a move that allowed Toronto to shift to 3-5-2 formation.
This meant that neither of Toronto’s new TAM winger signings, Nicolas Benezet or Erickson Gallardo, saw action during the match. Without them, Toronto struggled to find any speed in transition.
The Crew did finally get their go-ahead goal in the 82nd minute, as substitute David Accam was too quick for the Toronto FC backline. He sped down the right wing before firing a shot across goal that Westberg failed to deal with.
There was still to be late drama, however, as Altidore salvaged what could be a critical point for Toronto in added time. He got onto the end of a brilliant cross from Auro to head home the 2-2 goal.
The final whistle saw both sides look disappointed. For Columbus, it was a draw that leaves them seven points out of the playoffs. For Toronto, meanwhile, they stay in ninth, tied on points with the Montreal Impact and Orlando City with a game in hand on both.