May 14, 2011 MLS--Toronto Lets Chicago Slip Away (from

Toronto Lets Chicago Slip Away
Asif Hossain 
BMO Field 
Toronto, ON - May 14, 2011 

Defining Moment

As rain fell down on BMO Field, Toronto FC let two points slip away against visiting Chicago Fire on Orr Barouch's 76th minute unmarked equalizer 
that leveled - and at final whistle cemented - the match at 2-2.

Toronto had taken a 2-0 lead through Joao Plata and Maicon Santos and looked likely to increase the margin inside the first hour. Although Chicago 
had more possession, TFC looked steady and threatened to run up the score with energetic and unwavering fast breaks. However, the match turned shortly 
following the substitution of 19-year old Plata at the 61st minute. Marco Pappa made it 2-1 on a free kick (earned by Barouch at the top of the Toronto 
area) two minutes after Plata's exit, and another 13 minutes of relentless Chicago pressure passed before they registered their second. 

Pitch Battles

Head coach Aron Winter made some choices that looked inspired for the first hour when the Reds had the game well in hand. Dan Gargan started at left 
fullback and often broke up advances from Chicago, while frequently searching out Plata on that side of attack. Though it wasn't Gargan, but Nick Soolsma 
that found the Ecuador U-20 international in space from where Plata sweetly struck the opening goal to put the Reds ahead 1-0 after just nine minutes.

Toronto's second goal came from the foot of Maicon, though with some help from former Toronto keeper Jon Conway. Plata picked out the Toronto captain 
two minutes after the intermission and from distance Maicon challenged Conway to handle a laser blast in the wet, slippery conditions. The Chicago 
keeper flubbed the volley allowing Maicon to put Toronto up 2-0.
Man of the Match

It's a toss up between Plata and Stefan Frei. While Plata set the tempo when he was on the pitch, Frei was instrumental in the Reds escaping with 
a point after his superb 83rd minute save that should be hard to beat for MLS Save of the Week.  Other Toronto players that stood out includes 
Jacob Peterson, Tony Tchani and Nick Soolsma - who is becoming a workhorse, making it more difficult for Javier Martina to win his place back in the 
starting lineup. 

When Toronto took their collective foot off the gas shortly after the hour mark, it was Chicago's Barouch that inspired their comeback. Unfortunately for 
the Reds, he is worth a mention in this space. 

Starting XI

Toronto - Stefan Frei; Dan Gargan, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann, Richard Eckersley; Tony Tchani, Julian de Guzman, Jacob Peterson; 
Joao Plata (Alen Stevanovic 61'), Maicon Santos (Javier Martina 84'), Nick Soolsma (Matt Gold 87') 
... Substitutes not used: Milos Kocic, Ty Harden, Oscar Cordon, Nathan Sturgis 
... Goals: Plata 9' Maicon 47' 
... Caution: de Guzman 25' (misses match v. Colorado - May 22).

Chicago - Jon Conway; Jalil Anibaba, Cory Gibbs, Yamith Cuesta, Gonzalo Segares, Marco Pappa, Corben Bone, Gaston Puerari (Orr Barouch 58'),  
Dan Paladini, Dominic Oduro (Bratislav Ristic 89'), Diego Chaves (Baggio Husidic 89') 
... Substitutes Not Used: Alec Dufty, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Josip Mikulic, Dasan Robinson 
... Goals: Pappa 63' Barouch 76' 
... Caution: Segares 19' Paladini 28'

Following Fixture
NCC Final - 1st Leg
Wednesday, May 18
Rogers Sportsnet
10 p.m. ET

For three years this NCC fixture was between an MLS club and a lower light, but that's not the case any longer. Vancouver not only is an MLS team now, 
they've already beaten Toronto at home this season in league play. The Whitecaps have never lifted the NCC trophy and are eager to take the Canadian 
spot in the 2011/12 CONCACAF Champions League. Toronto will host the return leg at BMO Field on May 25.

Preki Post Game

This outcome may feel like a loss for Toronto but it certainly wasn't uneventful. There were a total of 38 attempts on goal, with Chicago taking 20. 
Each team had eight shots on target but the visitors, playing from behind, dominated possession (65%) and total passes 538-294. The sizable margin 
in the latter statistic paints a picture that Toronto stopped playing when it felt far too comfortable with its lead. 

In Their Words

"I think in the second half we didn’t want to play anymore.  That’s why I think we lost (the points), because in the first half we were chasing 
up and pushing up and putting pressure in the front.  Then in the second half after the second goal we didn’t do that anymore, and that’s why I think 
we have given away 2 points." - Head coach Aron Winter

"I think we sat back after the first two goals after the first hour, then we gave away a reckless foul which I don’t know was clearly won on top 
of the box.  That’s when they were able to get back into the game, and after that we just sat back too deep, and we weren’t the same as we were 
in the first half." - Midfielder Julian de Guzman

"In general, after about 60 minutes we packed it in and thought the game was over.  Offensively and defensively we got lazy.  We didn’t show for the 
ball anymore, didn’t go for runs, didn’t cover each other defensively, just those extra things.  We thought it was 2-0, the game is winding down, 
now I hope everybody knows that the game in 90 minutes, not 60." - Goalkeeper Stefan Frei

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