September 15, 2007 MLS Toronto FC vs Real Salt Lake (from MLSnet.com)
TFC can't break drought in draw
Club can't break out of funk in tough draw vs. RSL
By Mark Polishuk / MLSnet.com Staff
TORONTO -- The frustration continued for Toronto FC as the club continued its goal drought and extended its winless streak to 10 games after a 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake on Saturday at BMO Field, despite playing with a man advantage for more than half the game.
In spite of reaching new team highs in shots (24) and shots on goal (12) and playing a man up for 55 minutes after RSL's Fabian Espindola was sent off, Toronto just couldn't manage to get on the scoreboard for the first time since July 7. TFC's league-record streak now stands at 822 minutes without a goal.
The man of the match was clearly RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando. With his team outplayed for virtually the entire game, Rimando made 12 saves to give Real a barely-earned point.
The goal drought nearly ended in the game's opening minutes. In the sixth minute, Collin Samuel carried the ball down the right side and centered it to fellow striker Andrea Lombardo in the Real goal area. Lombardo's shot was blocked by Rimando, and the rebound fell directly back at Lombardo's feet. With little room to work with, Lombardo's shot was again stopped by Rimando at point-blank range.
As in recent games against Los Angeles, Chivas USA and D.C. United, Toronto's attack created chances and dominated play in the opening minutes, but couldn't notch the go-ahead goal. The story of the first half-hour could be summed up by a pair of great scoring opportunities that the seemingly snake-bitten Reds couldn't convert.
In the 26th minute, midfielder Marvell Wynne outran the Salt Lake defense down the right side, but his hard shot was blocked at close range by the RSL 'keeper. A few minutes later, Lombardo made a nifty move to evade his man and center the ball to a wide-open Todd Dunivant in the goal area. With a seemingly wide-open net to work with, Dunivant's shot was knocked off his foot at the last second by a diving Rimando.
RSL were unable to muster any sort of attack against the Reds, and things got worse for Real in the 35th minute. Carey Talley made a hard tackle on Wynne that the Toronto fullback thought was a foul. Wynne got to his feet and angrily confronted the RSL midfielder, and Real's Espindola got involved by throwing an elbow at the TFC player. This led to a minor fracas that resulted in Espindola being shown a red card by referee Tim Weyland.
Now down a man, Real held steady in the remainder of the half and held Toronto off the scoreboard. Rimando had eight saves in the face of his club being outshot 12-3 overall and 8-1 in shots on goal. These eight shots on goal allowed in the first half nearly matched Real's season-high of 10 shots allowed in an entire game.
Toronto reached the 10-shot plateau early in the second half, and the 10th shot on net was nearly the breakthrough goal. Lombardo's centering pass from the left side found the head of Collin Samuel in the Real penalty area, but Rimando was again right there to deny the Reds.
Looking to someone to deliver the final touch on offense, Toronto coach Mo Johnston inserted Jeff Cunningham into the game in place of Lombardo in the 68th minute. For Cunningham, it was just his third game since July 4 due to a sports hernia. The striker's season was thought to be over until his specialized surgery was moved up to Sept. 5.
Cunningham's entrance seemed to actually slow down the pace for TFC, as the squad seemed to be trying to develop the perfect scoring chance for its forward, rather than just peppering the Real net with shots. The best chance fell to Samuel in the 73rd minute, but Rimando denied the Reds' striker for the third time in the match.
Real, for their part, went into a defensive shell in the second half and seemed content to ride out Rimando's heroics and Toronto's cursed attack to a scoreless draw. It was a stark contrast to Real's recent scoring prowess, which saw the club collect nine goals in their previous four matches. RSL had just two shots in the final 45 minutes, neither of which were on goal.
As well, the point does little for either team as they try and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. TFC and RSL came into the game nine and 12 points, respectively, behind eighth place in the MLS standings. TFC looks to snap its five-game losing streak against the Columbus Crew when the Eastern Conference rivals meet at BMO Field next Saturday. With their four-game road trip completed, Real Salt Lake heads back to Rice-Eccles Stadium for a Wednesday clash with the LA Galaxy.
Mark Polishuk is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
Real Salt Lake (4-13-7) vs. Toronto FC (5-13-6) September 15, 2007 -- BMO Field Scoring Summary: Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Chris Lancos, Matias Mantilla, Eddie Pope, Chris Wingert, Carey Talley, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Ritchie Kotschau 47), Fabian Espindola, Chris Brown (Robbie Findley 62), Alecko Eskandarian (Andy Williams 71), Substitutes Not Used: Atiba Harris, Kyle Brown, Jean-Martial Kipre, Chris Seitz Toronto FC -- Kenny Stamatopoulos, Andrew Boyens, Todd Dunivant, Tyrone Marshall, Jim Brennan, Chris Pozniak (Miguel Canizalez 59), Maurice Edu, Carl Robinson, Marvell Wynne (Adam Braz 46), Andrea Lombardo (Jeff Cunningham 68), Collin Samuel, Substitutes Not Used: Srdjan Djekanovic, Gabe Gala, Joey Melo, Marco Reda Toronto FC Real Salt Lake total shots: 24 (Collin Samuel 6) 5 (Chris Brown 3) shots on goal: 12 (Andrea Lombardo 4) 1 (Chris Brown 1) fouls: 17 (Maurice Edu 4) 18 (Alecko Eskandarian 5) offsides: 5 (Andrea Lombardo 2, Collin Samuel 2) 1 (Robbie Findley 1) corner kicks: 7 (Jim Brennan 5) 2 (Alecko Eskandarian 1, Javier Morales 1) saves: 1 (Kenny Stamatopoulos 1) 12 (Nick Rimando 12) Misconduct Summary: RSL -- Javier Morales (caution; Dissent) 17 TOR -- Tyrone Marshall (caution; Reckless Foul) 22 TOR -- Andrew Boyens (caution; Reckless Foul) 31 RSL -- Fabian Espindola (ejection; Violent Conduct) 35 RSL -- Alecko Eskandarian (caution; Reckless Foul) 48 TOR -- Adam Braz (caution; Professional Foul) 67 RSL -- Matias Mantilla (caution; Delaying a Restart) 93+ referee: Tim Weyland Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Nate Clement 4th official: Mark Geiger time of game: 1:54 attendance: 20,098 weather: Partly Cloudy -and- 55 degrees All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
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