April 2, 2011 MLS--Unlucky To Be Tied (from TorontoFC.ca)

Unlucky To Be Tied
Asif Hossain
BMO Field Toronto, ON - April 2, 2011

Defining Moment
Toronto FC were unlucky to have dropped two points in a 1-1 draw against Chivas USA on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field.

The Reds had maximum points for the taking at the 60th minute but had to settle for a draw when newly named club captain Maicon Santos was unable to bury the ball after rounding Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy. The Brazilian attacker, now playing a high midfield role in head coach Aron Winter's 4-3-3 formation, had helped to set up two goals and struck a scorcher in the season opener against Vancouver prior to this contest. However, the ball rolled away from Maicon on a breakaway as he ranged to his left and fired wide of goal.

Pitch Battles
Newly acquired midfielder Tony Tchani arrived from New York in time to play his first match in a Toronto shirt. The 21-year old showed he has the timing and strength to become a dominant central midfielder in Major League Soccer. He stood out from a defensive standpoint making a game-high five tackles and two interceptions over 90 minutes.

Toronto enjoyed aerial superiority in this match against a smaller Chivas lineup. The Reds had a rocky start that could have seen them suffer gravely, but they found composure in the second period of the first half and began to lob crosses into the box at will. On a set-piece, Jacob Peterson advanced the cause when he found Alan Gordon for his first goal in a Toronto shirt at the 36th minute. It was all the sweeter for the big forward scoring against his former club.

Man of the Match
Gordon might have had two goals in the first half but for hitting the woodwork at the 25th minute following a pinpoint cross from Javier Martina. The former Chivas player showed his ability with the ball at his feet when he put Maicon through on goal for the missed breakaway chance at the hour mark. On a more forgiving afternoon Gordon could have claimed a brace, a helper and three points for his team. Though he and the Reds had to settle for a goal and a single.

Not to be missed, new alternate captain Stefan Frei was his normally brilliant self making seven saves, some during key moments late in the game as Chivas pressed. Additionally, Ty Harden quietly had a strong game at the back for Toronto. The Reds were off to a shocking start when a mishap by Nana Attakora allowed the ball to trickle through for Alejandro Moreno, who skipped past Adrian Cann on way to giving Chivas a 1-0 lead inside three minutes. Harden - playing on the right - along with Martina and Peterson helped develop Toronto's attack, which included a goal disallowed by a contested offside call.

In Their Own Words:

"I think that when you’re on the pitch, it’s better that a player who’s captain is in the midfield, who can reach back and front. I’m sitting on the bench and when I want to reach my players, it’s very difficult when they aren’t near to me. I think when you’re like Stefan (a goalkeeper) and you’re behind and you have to coach the players in front, I think the distance is too far ... Maicon is the captain." - Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter.

"It was a brilliant ball by Peterson, he just put it right on my head, and I just did the best I could to get it on frame, and luckily it went in. So I’m happy to get my first goal here, and try to contribute on that side of things ... This is my second trade and it’s my second goal against my former team, so yeah, it felt real good." - Toronto FC forward Alan Gordon.

"No, I’m not gonna change anything (as captain). We’re gonna keep it up with everything, we’re gonna keep it up, the hard work we’ve been doing. Just keep it up ... When I went to just put the ball in, and I think the guy come up from behind me and clipped my leg, so I touched the wrong way on the ball. So that’s unfortunate that that’s happened ... that’s football." - Toronto FC midfielder and captain Maicon Santos.

 Starting XI
 Toronto (4-3-3) - Stefan Frei; Danleigh Borman, Nana Attakora (Dicoy Williams 65'), Adrian Cann, Ty Harden; Tony Tchani, Maicon Santos, 
 Jacob Peterson (Julian de Guzman 46'); Javier Martina, Alan Gordon, Alen Stevanovic (Joao Plata 70') 
 ... Subs Not Used: Milos Kocic, Oscar Cordon, Dan Gargan, Ashtone Morgan 
 ... Goal: Gordon 36' 
 ... Caution: de Guzman 89'

Chivas (4-4-2) - Dan Kennedy, Michael Lahoud, Heath Pearce, Andrew Boyens, Ante Jazic, Nick LaBrocca, Marcos Mondaini (Gerson Mayen 67'), 
Ben Zemanski, Jorge Flores, Justin Braun (Victor Estupinan 86'), Alejandro Moreno 
... Subs Not Used: Sergio Arias, Zach Thornton, Francisco Mendoza, Seth Owusu, Mariano Trujillo 
... Goal: Moreno 3' 
... Caution: None.

Following Fixture
San Jose Earthquakes
April 9, 2011 in Santa Clara, CA
GOL TV Canada, 10:30 p.m. ET

Over the last two seasons San Jose has been steadily building a team with young, fast and strong players. It may sound a bit like the formula Toronto is pursuing under Aron Winter and if the end product is similar to what Frank Yallop has delivered in the Bay Area then TFC supporters won't be disappointed. The Quakes squeaked into MLS Cup Playoffs as the lowest seed in 2010 and upset the heavily favoured New York Red Bulls in the first round over two legs. They have a win and a loss heading into their third match against winless Seattle on Saturday night.

Preki Post Game Some noteworthy stats that pop out in this match beyond shots (14-8 for Chivas) are possession and duels won. Chivas had more of the possession at 57%-43% but Toronto was usually first to 50/50 balls winning 62.9% of duels. This occasionally caused Chivas to commit more fouls (18-9) with late challenges.

Julian de Guzman played his first match for Toronto since offseason knee surgery. The Canadian international midfielder saw 45 minutes in which he had 21 touches, a 75% pass completion rate (which equaled the team average) and drew a yellow card for a necessary challenge that derailed a Chivas counter attack.

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