Goal.com - Home

thumbnail Hello,
 
Played
August 28, 2010 7:00 PM EDT
BMO Field, Toronto, Canada
 

Toronto FC 0-0 Real Salt Lake: Tired Clubs Settle for Draw

By Mike Beauvais

Ty Harden, Toronto FC; Fabian Espindola, Real Salt Lake; MLS (Getty Images)
TORONTO -- Looking like two clubs playing their third match in only eight days, Toronto FC and Real Salt Lake split the points on Saturday night at BMO Field in a 0-0 draw. The CONCACAF Champions League Group A rivals both seemed to slow down as the match went on with their gas tanks empty after a week of significant travel.

First Half

With both clubs coming off of away Champions League losses midweek, Jason Kreis and Preki made several changes to their respective starting XIs. Tony Beltran and Jamison Olave would be handed starts in the RSL back line, while Andy Williams and Ned Grabavoy were drafted into the midfield. For Toronto, Julian de Guzman, who did play versus Arabe Unido, returned from suspension into league play and the increasingly controversial Mista started up front alongside Dwayne De Rosario. Nick Garcia moved into a central defensive role to cover for the suspended Nana Attakora.

The hosts would have their best chance with their first shot on net, in the first minute of play. Racing down the right, Maksim Usanov did well to keep the ball in play and then sent a cross into the RSL box, looking for De Rosario. The captain was well covered by Beltran and the service was deflected to the edge of the box to Dan Gargan. With Nick Rimando having gone to the far post to deal with the threat of De Rosario, Gargan had much of the net to work with, but his dipping header didn’t drop quickly enough and clipped the cross bar.

In the 17th minute, Fabian Espindola broke down the right with a step on his marker, Ty Harden. Harden should have done better to immediately close out the striker a few seconds earlier, but because of the late reaction, Espindola was able to get a shot off on net. His strike was a good one from a sharp angle, but Stefan Frei was up to the task and parried away.

Only minutes later, Dwayne De Rosario tried to keep Nick Rimando honest at the other end with an effort from just over 20 yards out. While the shot was little more than a speculative one, as Rimando obviously wasn’t napping, the All-Star ‘keeper did well to read the dip in the ball and made sure not to step over the goal line.

The Reds enjoyed a spell of control in the midway point of the half, yet were unable to generate any solid chances, thanks to RSL’s ability to collapse behind the ball and ensure that any Toronto shots would be low-percentage one. This led to the odd break against the run of play, including one in the 28th minute, when Chris Wingert struck hard from under 25 yards out and forced a diving stop out of Frei.

With under 10 minutes to play in the half, the champs had two quick opportunities in succession. Some rather suspect marking in the TFC box allowed Alvaro Saborio to get open long enough to meet a well-placed cross from Ned Grabavoy. Saborio twisted his neck to get some power behind it, but the Costa Rican’s attempt went high in the 35th minute. Shortly thereafter, a quick through-ball looked to spring Espindola, but Harden did well to get on his horse and made a final sliding tackle to direct the ball to safety before the Argentine could get full control.



Second Half

It was the visitors’ turn to come close from the get-go, through Espindola again. The one-time Boca Juniors man raced diagonally across the Toronto box and past Harden to meet a through-ball a minute after the restart. Frei came off of his line and dove to collect, but Espindola got there first and stepped around the ‘keeper, now facing an empty net. Seemingly rushing his shot and a tad off-balance, Espindola’s effort was a poor one, sending the ball well wide of goal.

Toronto came back the other way with an opportunity of their own. A TFC corner looked to be cleared from danger, but was immediately sent back into the Real box by Mista. A scramble ensued, with Nick Labrocca knocking down an attempted clearance into the path of Gargan at the edge of the area. Gargan’s low shot was stopped and held halfway to goal by De Rosario. The Canadian international smartly teed up for Harden. With Rimando frozen, Harden’s quick shot had little power behind it and it rolled harmlessly by the far post.

Espindola would play provider near the hour mark with a fine individual effort. Chasing down what looked like a lost cause to the right of Stefan Frei, not only did the Argentine manage to keep the ball in play, but in the same motion, Espindola sent in a beautiful cross to the lip of the TFC area for an awaiting Javier Morales. Morales’ header was a good one, forcing a diving stop out of Frei at the near post.

In the 63rd minute, Toronto carried up the field through Nick Garcia. Not seeing any passing avenues he liked, the defender struck hard from well out, making Rimando leap to get a hand on it, sending the effort over the bar. This was a fine save from the Real Salt Lake stopper to keep the home team off of the board.

TFC came a scant few feet wide of a breakthrough in the 77th. Labrocca caught the RSL backline flat-footed with a beautiful through-ball for Mista. The Spaniard took a stride into the area and let go with a hard, low drive that went wide of the far post. Perhaps unaware that he had more time than he thought, Mista should have done better.

With just under 10 minutes left, the champs looked to break the deadlock. Coming into the TFC box on the left, Wingert twice turned Gargan inside out before hammering off the near post. Although shooting from a sharp angle, the lead-up featured a nice bit of skill from the defender.

As time ticked down, RSL would have one last chance to head back to Utah with full points. Substitute Will Johnson, who came on for Williams, received a pass just inside the TFC box. Taking a step to elude Gargan, the Canadian international used a split-second’s hesitation to seemingly confuse Frei. Having the ‘keeper beaten, Johnson rang one off of the post in what would be the final opportunity for either side to grab a win.

Both sides will undoubtedly enjoy a week free from action of any kind. The champs' next game is next week at home to Juan Pablo Angel and the New York Red Bulls, while Toronto travels to Pizza Hut Park to take on FC Dallas that same evening. Toronto and RSL will meet again next on September 15 at Rio Tinto in Champions League play.

For more on Major League Soccer, visit Goal.com's MLS page and join Goal.com USA's Facebook fan page!


Toronto FC

24
Stefan Frei
Goalkeeper
0.00
2
Ty Harden
Defender
0.00
-
0.00
-
Adrian Cann
Defender
0.00
-
Nick Garcia
Defender
0.00
33
Dan Gargan
Defender
0.00
2
Nick LaBrocca
Midfielder
0.00
-
Mista
Striker
0.00
33
Maxim Usanov
Defender
45′
0.00
25
Martin Saric
Midfielder
69′
0.00
14
Dwayne De Rosario
Midfielder
0.00

Real Salt Lake

0.00
18
Nick Rimando
Goalkeeper
0.00
17
0.00
20
Ned Grabavoy
Midfielder
0.00
15
0.00
77
Andy Williams
Midfielder
69′
0.00
9
0.00
6
0.00
4
0.00
2
0.00
5
Kyle Beckerman
Midfielder
0.00
11
Javier Morales
Midfielder

Substitutes

-
Jon Conway
Goalkeeper
0.00
34
0.00
-
Gabe Gala
Defender
0.00
15
Nane
Midfielder
0.00
-
F. Ibrahim
Midfielder
0.00
-
0.00
37
0.00

Substitutes

0.00
28
Kyle Reynish
Goalkeeper
0.00
3
0.00
22
0.00
19
0.00
-
Jean Alexandre
Midfielder
83′
0.00
4
Will Johnson
Midfielder
69′
0.00
10
 
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Clint Dempsey Clint Dempsey
Striker
Seattle Sounders
6 1
E. Torres E. Torres
Striker
Chivas USA
5 2
V. Sánchez V. Sánchez
Striker
Colorado
4 3
Federico Higuaín Federico Higuaín
Striker
Columbus Crew
4 2
Kenny Miller Kenny Miller
Striker
Rangers
3 2