April 13, 2011 MLS--Another Point To Youthful TFC (from TorontoFC.ca)

Another Point To Youthful TFC
Asif Hossain 
BMO Field Toronto, ON - April 13, 2011 

Defining Moment
Stefan Frei's save on Sean Franklin just 36 seconds into the match kept Toronto FC from conceding an early goal on way to a nil-nil draw against the 
reigning MLS league champion Los Angeles Galaxy. It was Toronto's third straight draw and the Reds are unbeaten in four games. 

It's not often that the opening minute defines a match, but in the case of these particular visitors Frei's save meant more to Toronto than what's 
on the surface. LA doesn't usually strive to play attractive football away. They don't need to. Bruce Arena's team is organized, disciplined and can 
rely on individual brilliance. Through these qualities they prefer to take an early lead then attempt to shut down the opposition. The plan didn't 
work against D.C. United when LA conceded a late equalizer last weekend. On Wednesday night, thanks to Frei's alertness Toronto wasn't made to chase 
the Galaxy for the next 89 minutes.

Pitch Battles
David Beckham made his MLS regular season debut at BMO Field after missing earlier encounters due to injuries and international duty. The Englishman 
picked up a caution at the 44th minute (which causes him to miss LA's next league match), and hit the post with one of his deadly free kicks at the 
70th minute. He was tracked closely in the Toronto midfield by Tony Tchani and Julian de Guzman, the Canadian started for the first time in 2011 and 
his fitness held up for a strong 65 minute effort. 

While Beckham's dead ball exploits are well known, Toronto showed something on set-pieces that the club has rarely displayed in its first four seasons. 
TFC was a constant threat from free kicks that nearly led to a pair of goals but for Gianluca Zavarise being stopped by LA keeper Donovan Ricketts 
at the 27th minute on a Jacob Peterson delivery. Three minutes from full time Joao Plata failed to make meaningful contact with his head when 
a Danleigh Borman offering found the teenager six yards from goal.

Man of the Match
Toronto got off to a shaky start - as has been the case a few times this season - and LA nearly punished TFC on some early blunders. After about 
15-20 minutes the Reds were much stronger and began to dominate most of the first half. A key factor behind this transformation was the backline 
stabilizing with the hard work of Adrian Cann and Ty Harden. Either centre back could make a case for MOTM with near-identical stats combining 
for 13 clearances to go with seven tackles and interceptions. 

Peterson, de Guzman and Frei should also be considered, along with whatever magnetic pull at BMO Field caused three Los Angeles strikes from Chad Barrett, 
Todd Dunivant and Beckham to hit the woodwork.

Starting XI
Toronto (4-3-3) -- Stefan Frei; Danleigh Borman, Ty Harden, Adrian Cann, Dan Gargan, Tony Tchani, Julian de Guzman (Mikael Yourassowsky 65'), 
Jacob Peterson; Gianluca Zavarise (Oscar Cordon 79'), Alen Stevanovic, Javier Martina (Joao Plata 85') 
... Subs Not Used: Nana Attakora, Keith Makubuya, Nick Soolsma, Milos Kocic 
... Goals: None 
... Caution: Martina 67' Stevanovic 68'

Los Angeles (4-4-2) -- Donovan Ricketts; A.J. DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant; Sean Franklin (Paolo Cardozo 88'), David Beckham, 
Juninho, Mike Magee (Bryan Jordan 75'); Chad Barrett, Juan Pablo Angel (Miguel Lopez 84') 
... Subs Not Used: Chris Birchall, Frankie Hejduk, Michael Stephens, Josh Saunders 
... Goals: None 
... Caution: Beckham 44' Jordan 76' Juninho 78' Juninho 90'+3' 
... Ejection: Juninho 90'+3'

Following Fixture 
D.C. United
Saturday, April 16
7 p.m. ET at BMO Field
On GOL TV Canada

Through their first four matches, head coach Ben Olsen's D.C. United has amassed four points (one win and a draw against a pair of losses) from as many 
matches. Hardly the stuff of potential Supporters’ Shield winners, but a large jump from the four consecutive losses with which D.C. began the 2010 
season under former head coach Curt Onalfo. D.C. added U.S. international forward Charlie Davies to the squad on loan from Sochaux in the French top 
flight; the striker already has four goals. 

Preki Post Game Toronto and Los Angeles have now played each other to three consecutive scoreless draws but neither team was short on chances. Toronto had 
three shots on target, including their set-piece gems. Los Angeles meanwhile had five shots go slightly off target, including a hat-trick of posts and 
crossbars. LA enjoyed slightly more of the possession at 53% and both teams had a 73% passing rate in a 29-foul affair that saw LA finish with 10 men 
in added time.

Playing without striker Alan Gordon and newly installed playmaker Maicon Santos, Toronto head coach Aron Winter turned to young players in their absence. 
Toronto born 18-year old Oscar Cordon made his MLS debut at the 79th minute, completing all four of his passes. The average age for the 14 TFC players 
featured in this match was a youthful 24.6. LA's average age was surprisingly close at 26.2 despite having a contingent of 30-something veterans.

In Their Words
 "It was a game of two phases. We didn’t start too well, and LA had some good opportunities.  We tried to play our own game, and we had some 
 opportunities as well.  Still, 0-0 was a good result ... because this morning Alan Gordon had a lot of problems and couldn’t play.  In the afternoon 
 Maicon also got the flu, and then at the last minute he had to change his place on the roster, and that is why the result is very good." - Toronto FC 
 head coach and technical director Aron Winter

 "I think the guys did an excellent job.  I can’t say it was one of our best games, but you could see that the guys showed a lot of unity, character, 
 and passion, and that’s why we came out with a positive point.  LA had moments to score but I think the reason they weren’t able to score is because 
 of the determination we had and the unity we showed on the pitch." - Toronto FC midfielder Julian de Guzman

 "I thought at the beginning of the game we started a little cold, it wasn’t going that good, but after the 15 minute mark we got things together going 
 forward.  I thought there was good combination between Jake, Julian, Gianluca, and a couple other guys, and got the ball out wide as well, so I thought 
 we did alright ... It was unfortunate we couldn’t pull away with the three points, but it’s a part of the game." - Toronto FC defender Adrian Cann

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