Late Own-Goal Sends Toronto FC Home Satisfied

Derek ViveirosContributor IMarch 29, 2009

After taking four points from the first two road games of the season, John Carver's squad only need six more points to equal last season's away total. 

Backed by 2,000 plus fans, Toronto FC took part in a scrappy 1-1 draw last night in  Columbus. The reigning MLS champions were presented with their trophy and had hopes of opening Crew Stadium with the full three points.

At the 28 minute mark, Kevin Harmse was whistled for handing the ball in the area while trying to twist his body away from a cross. Guillermo Barros Schelotto collectively slotted in a penalty past Stefan Frei.

The home side almost netted a second goal in the 36th as Eddie Gaven struck the post from outside the area. Shortly after Stefan Frei was forced into an acrobatic save from an Emmanuel Epko strike.

The save resulted in a lower-back injury for Frei and he was replaced by veteran Greg Sutton at half.

"You have to be ready, because sometimes that's what happens in these games," said Sutton.

He couldn't have performed better. He was quick off his line and came up with the big saves when tested.

In the 81st minute, Gino Padula inadvertently headed a Dwayne DeRosario free kick past his own keeper to level the score.

Both teams had numerous opportunities to take the lead in the dying minutes, but failed to really test either keeper. A draw should be considered just, as neither team appeared superior.  

After losing Amado Guevara and Carl Robinson to international duty, Carver decided to go with a 4-4-2 formation opposed to the 3-5-2 he used in the season opener. Pablo Vitti made his debut up front with Chad Barrrett, while Marco Velez was slotted beside Adrian Serioux at centre-back.

"I was a little bit concerned losing the centre midfield guys before this game, but I felt the guys stepped in their and did a good job for us," said Carver

Their defensive mentality paid dividends as they frustrated Columbus and relied on the counter-attack to generate offense.

Sharing the lead atop the Eastern Conference, Toronto FC head home to the friendly domicile that is BMO field Saturday to take on Seattle.


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