Toronto, ON-- With games winding down fast and a playoff berth continuing to elude them, Toronto FC adorned their players in pink uniforms in support of Breast Cancer to tackle San Jose. But the color brought no luck as they fell victim to a late injury time draw, all-but-destroying their playoff hopes.
Toronto FC lined up with new players covering for absent and injured ones. O'Brian White was leading the attack, Lesly
Fellinga starting in midfield and Brian Edwards between the posts. They
desperately needed a win to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.
San Jose were without Darren Huckerby, Simon Elliot, Ramon Sanchez and Arturo Alvarez, but still sent out a pretty
solid side despite no prospect of their season continuing beyond the
TFC made their intent known as early as the second minute when Chad
Barrett's shot blazed over the bar, but had Joe Cannon in the
Earthquakes goal worried. The home side bossed possession for much of
the opening period. Fellinga going close once as San Jose only
threatened sporadically on the counter without any real intent.
A last'minute tackle from Bobby Burling managed to thwart O'Brian White
as he looked to swivel onto Sam Cronin's deflected through ball. The
rookie forward was a constant thorn in the San Jose defense with his
pace and trickery ominously getting the better of his markers.
Cannon got down spectacularly to save a header from Nana Attakora off
one of Adrian Serioux's trademark long throws. At the other end Chris
Wondolowski was the most impressive player and he succeeded in getting
a shot away that took TFC by surprise only to trickle a yard wide with
San Jose got better as the half wore on but aside from some hopeful
balls in and around the home penalty box, their attacks lacked venom.
Finally in the last minute of the half, De Rosario with his neon yellow
boots seemed to have opened up San Jose but Chad Barrett couldn't
redirect the high cross to the back post on target.
A largely uneventful first half finished 0-0.
Within a minute of the restart, the game got the goal it craved. Those
neon yellow boots provided the inspiration as De Rosario's low cross
was met at the back post by Nana Attakora for a 1-0 lead after Joe
Cannon had elected not to dive for the ball.
Moments later Fellinga and Barrett somehow conspired not to score when
both had chances to put the ball away with the visiting defense at
sixes and sevens.
In the 56th minute Toronto almost doubled their lead but for some but
for some heroic defending by Chris Leitch. Chad Barrett delivered a
peach of a cross that was chested towards goal by De Rosario. The ball
seemed to be crawling towards the net when De Rosario and Leitch both
lunged for the ball and tussled for it while both were on the ground.
Cannon dived back to smother the ball before any harm could be
Amarikwa's introduction for San Jose in place of the injured Jason Hernandez
with half an hour left to play spiced the encounter up. He instigated
some neat moves through the middle of the park, but Toronto were also
threatening. White met Fellinga's left wing cross, but his thumping
header just went wide.
As the match drew to a close, the home side seemed to get nervous,
knowing full well if they didn,t see out this lead their season was
over. Barrett ran himself into the ground and was replaced by Pablo
The 84th minute saw the Earthquakes come closest to an equalizer as the
ball bounced off numerous heads, but a pink shirt managed to head the
ball behind the goal for a corner. De Rosario then had a decent attempt
on target from just outside the box with Cannon well up to the
Toronto seemed to be holding on when Brennan made a fantastic block, of another 'Quake shot,
but the ensuing play deep into stoppage time resulted in the inevitable
Leitch raced forward to cross the ball and Nana
Attakora headed the ball away from the goalmouth only for Cornell Glen to latch on to
the ball at the far post and squeeze his shot past Edwards. 1-1 at full
time; heartbreak for the Canadians.
Toronto plays their last home game on turf next week against Real Salt Lake. Their playoff hopes have all but dissipated.
Party poopers San Jose head to Chivas USA next, hoping to inflict some more damage to playoff hopefuls.
Talha Zaheer, Goal.com
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