October 20, 2007 MLS Toronto FC vs New England Revolution (from MLSnet.com)

10/20/2007 2:53PM
TFC get draw on stoppage time goal
Club able to give home crowd positive result to close out the season
By Mark Polishuk / MLSnet.com Staff
Collin Samuel helped spark Toronto FC's late rally to force a 2-2 tie against N.E. (Markus Leodolter/ AP)

TORONTO -- Danny Dichio's goal in second-half stoppage time secured a hard-earned point for Toronto FC as the club ended its first season with a 2-2 draw against the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. Trailing 2-0 after 58 minutes, the Reds rebounded with a goal from striker Collin Samuel and then poured on the attack in the final half-hour of the game. Finally, it was Dichio (who led TFC with six goals on the season) who hooked in a well-placed side volley from just outside the penalty area to complete the comeback.

Michael Parkhurst opened the scoring with a wonder goal just before halftime, and Taylor Twellman doubled the Revolution lead immediately after the break. But it was not the result the Revs were looking for as the club heads into their Eastern Conference Semifinal Series next week against the New York Red Bulls. New England has two losses and a draw in three league games since its win in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on Oct. 3.

The Reds managed the first real chance of the contest, when an Andrea Lombardo centering pass found forward Samuel for a near-breakaway against goalkeeper Matt Reis. Samuel managed a hard shot that was deflected away by the Revs 'keeper. It was the first of three shots on goal for TFC within the first 11 minutes.

The game began far more evenly matched than the first two meetings between the clubs this season, when New England outscored TFC 7-0 in two walkover victories. The Revolution amassed 30 shots in those two games, but managed just four shots in the first half of Saturday's match. Pat Noonan had a good chance in the 21st minute that was just barely touched by TFC 'keeper Kenny Stamatopoulos and directed off the left post.

New England's last shot of the half, however, was a memorable one. During first-half injury time, Stamatopoulos ranged far out of his net to field the ball after a minor challenge from the Revs, and the 'keeper tossed the ball to midfield. New England quickly regained possession at midfield, however, and the ball ended up on the foot of Michael Parkhurst.

The defender launched a long, well-placed shot that traveled from behind the halfway line in the center circle to the top right corner of the Toronto net as Stamatopoulos couldn't get back to defend in time.

The highlight-reel goal was the first of Parkhurst's three-year MLS career, and the first in any league for the 2005 MLS Rookie of the Year since he scored twice for the Bradenton Academics of the USL Premier Development League in 2003.

The Revs kept up the attack early in the second half. Ralston took a corner in the 48th minute and expertly curved the ball into the TFC area. Taylor Twellman got the last touch as a number of players challenged for the header, looping the ball under the bar to give New England a two-goal lead.

It was the 16th goal of the year for Twellman, which marked the third time in the star forward's career that he has reached that goal total in a season. The forward entered Saturday's action tied with Kansas City's Eddie Johnson for the third-highest goal total in the league. Ralston's assist gave him the temporary league lead with 14 heading into the rest of Saturday night's action.

Toronto FC wasn't about to let their season end without a fight, however. The Reds cut their deficit in half in the 59th minute on a goal that was started by some deft footwork from Marvell Wynne. The midfielder worked hard to keep control of the ball amidst a pair of Revs defenders along the penalty line, and launched a shot that got past Reis but ricocheted off the right post. A sliding Samuel got a foot on the rebound and sent the ball into the left corner for the striker's third goal of the season.

The Reds kept up the pressure in search of the equalizing goal. Toronto had a long period of control around the 64-minute mark where the Reds continually passed the ball around in the New England end, but couldn't manage a shot. TFC finally got a chance in the 65th minute when Chris Pozniak got a piece of a Carl Robinson corner kick, but the ball sailed over the net.

Pozniak was again involved in a scoring chance in the 79th minute. Wynne's pass from within the penalty area just missed Pozniak's outstretched leg as the midfielder slid after the ball.

Chance after chance passed by the Reds as the minutes continued to tick away on Toronto's season. A direct free kick from Robinson in the 82nd minute resulted in the scrum in front of the Revs net that required a goal line clearance from New England midfielder Shalrie Joseph to keep his club ahead.

Finally, two minutes into added time, it was the man who scored TFC's first-ever goal that ended up scoring their last of the 2007 campaign. Dichio, who came on as a halftime substitution for Jeff Cunningham, was playing his first game since August 25 after recovering from a torn foot muscle. The forward sent a first-time arching shot from just outside the penalty area over the head of a jumping Reis to tie the game.

Yet another capacity crowd at BMO Field warmly saluted their club as Toronto FC concluded its inaugural MLS season. Team captain Jim Brennan, sidelined with a knee injury, addressed the Toronto faithful before the game and thanked them for being "the best fans in the league." The supporters made their presence felt in the 14th minute, when they buried Steve Ralston with an extra-heavy shower of streamers while the New England defender was trying to take a corner kick.

The tie leaves Toronto with 25 points in its initial campaign. Unless Real Salt Lake wins at Colorado on Saturday night, Toronto will manage to stay out of the league basement. Should RSL win, Toronto will finish at the bottom of the league table but will get the consolation prize of the first overall pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft.

The Revolution travel to Giants Stadium on Saturday for the first leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal Series against the New York Red Bulls. The second leg will be played on November 3 at Gillette Stadium. This is the third time in five years that New England and New York have met in the conference semifinals, with the Revs advancing in both 2003 and 2005.

Mark Polishuk is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

New England Revolution (14-8-8) vs. Toronto FC (6-17-7) 
October 19, 2007 -- BMO Field 

Scoring Summary: 
NE -- Michael Parkhurst 1 (unassisted) 47+
NE -- Taylor Twellman 16 (Steve Ralston 14) 47
TOR -- Collin Samuel 3 (unassisted) 59
TOR -- Danny Dichio 6 (Carl Robinson 4) 92+

New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Jay Heaps, Avery John, Michael Parkhurst, Steve Ralston, Wells Thompson 
(Andy Dorman 51), Shalrie Joseph, Jeff Larentowicz, Khano Smith, Pat Noonan (Adam Cristman 88), Taylor Twellman.

Substitutes Not Used: Marshall Leonard, Abdoulie Mansally, Sainey Nyassi, James Riley, Doug Warren

Toronto FC -- Kenny Stamatopoulos, Andrew Boyens, Tyrone Marshall, Todd Dunivant, Marvell Wynne, Maurice Edu, 
Tyler Hemming, Carl Robinson, Andrea Lombardo (Chris Pozniak 52), Jeff Cunningham (Danny Dichio 46), Collin Samuel.

Substitutes Not Used: Jim Brennan, Gabe Gala, David Guzman, Joey Melo, Sam Reynolds

 Toronto FC New England Revolution 
total shots: 10 (Collin Samuel 5)  8 (Pat Noonan 2,
 Taylor Twellman 2)  
shots on goal: 6 (Collin Samuel 3)  5 (Taylor Twellman 2)  
fouls: 17 (Maurice Edu 5)  9 (Khano Smith 3)  
offsides: 3 (Jeff Cunningham 2)  3 (Pat Noonan 2)  
corner kicks: 3 (Carl Robinson 3)  7 (Steve Ralston 7)  
saves: 3 (Kenny Stamatopoulos 3)  4 (Matt Reis 4)  

Misconduct Summary: 
TOR -- Andrea Lombardo (caution; Delaying a Restart) 7
NE -- Wells Thompson (caution; Pushing, Holding) 42
TOR -- Carl Robinson (caution; Reckless Foul) 43

referee: Steven DePiero
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; Nate Clement
4th official: Paul Ward
time of game: 1:53
attendance: 20,374
weather: Partly Cloudy -and- 61 degrees

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial 

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