May 18, 2011 MLS--Soolsma Redemption In NCC Draw (from

Soolsma Redemption In NCC Draw
Asif Hossain 
Empire Field - May 18, 2011 

Defining Moment

Toronto FC is just 90 minutes away from a third straight Nutrilite Canadian Championship thanks to an away goal scored by Maicon Santos that earned 
the Reds a 1-1 draw in Vancouver on Wednesday night. 

Down a goal but definitely not out, Toronto pressed for an equalizer that arrived at the 73rd minute. An industrious Nick Soolsma moved deep into 
the Vancouver third, from there he spotted Maicon's run into the box. Soolsma delivered a low cross into the Brazilian's path, where the centre 
forward stuck out his left leg to knock the ball past Jay Nolly and inside the far post of Vancouver's goal. It was a deft touch by Maicon, one 
that gives TFC a definite advantage heading into the home leg of this cup final on Wednesday, May 25 at BMO Field - with the winner receiving the 
Canadian spot in the 2011/12 CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round. 

Pitch Battles

Vancouver embraced the second half with tremendous urgency. Their vigour was aided by a drastically depleted Toronto midfield that lost Jacob Peterson 
and Tony Tchani to injuries that can be directly attributed to the artificial pitch at Vancouver's Empire Field. This is the second time Toronto had 
to endure this surface in 2011 and they'll be quite happy to have it behind. 

A scoreless, even first half was a distant memory when Whitecaps' Eric Hassli buried a 25-yard volley past Stefan Frei at the 64th minute. Earlier, 
Hassli had hit the post, his team had a penalty claim denied and another brush with the woodwork kept Toronto from falling further back. The Reds 
withstood the pressure and moved forward, inserting themselves into the match with small sparks building toward the leveler. 

Man of the Match

Two months after Soolsma made his MLS debut at Empire Field in a lacklustre 45 minute performance, the 23-year old Dutch forward can claim redemption 
with arguably his best outing to date. Soolsma has enjoyed a series of strong matches since finding his way back from exile following that 
season opener. In this match he assisted on Toronto's goal with a determined individual effort, one of many during a game in which he also took three 
shots and made numerous sprints into the opposition area. 

Other Toronto players that stood out Wednesday include Julian de Guzman with a box-to-box perfromance, Richard Eckersley who seemed constantly on the 
move, Frei for his usual antics and Maicon, particularly after scoring his goal when the Reds required some brawn to help close out the contest. 

Starting XI

Vancouver - Jay Nolly; Jonathan Leathers, Greg Janicki, Jay DeMerit; Alain Rochat; Davide Chiumiento, Terry Dunfield, Gershon Koffie, 
Shea Salinas (Russell Teibert 83’); Eric Hassli (Omar Salgado 73’), Camilo (Nizar Khlafan 78’) 
... Unused substitutes: Joe Cannon, Wes Knight, Jeb Brovsky, Mouloud Akloul 
... Goal: Hassli 64' 
... Caution: Koffie 68' Dunfield 77'

Toronto - Stefan Frei; Dan Gargan, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann, Richard Eckersley; Tony Tchani (Oscar Cordon 45’), Julian de Guzman, 
Jacob Peterson (Matthew Gold 33’); Joao Plata (Ty Harden 76’), Nick Soolsma, Maicon Santos 
... Unused substitutes: Milos Kocic, Nana Attakora, Nathan Sturgis, Alen Stevanovic 
... Goal: Maicon 73' 
... Caution: Williams 52'

Following Fixture
MLS Match 12
Sunday, May 22
GOL TV Canada
7 p.m. ET

Toronto will head to Commerce City to play against the reigning MLS Cup champion Colorado with a weakened midfield. The health of Peterson and 
Tchani is unclear after the Vancouver match, though it's unlikely they'll be at 100% with four nights' rest. Additionally, de Guzman is suspended 
due to card accumulation. Colorado has started strong in 2011 with 15 points from 10 games. They have drawn their previous two matches and will 
expect maximum points from a much traveled and now shorthanded Toronto team.

Preki Post Game

While the Reds made their bid for the Canadian crown Wednesday night, Toronto's potential path to the Champions League was revealed earlier in the 
day by CONCACAF. Should Toronto get past Vancouver next Wednesday at BMO Field with a scoreless draw or victory, Aron Winter's men will play against 
a Nicaraguan side - Real Esteli or Walter Ferreti - in the home-and-home preliminary round. Should Toronto progress from there, Group C awaits the 
Reds in the CCL group stage where opponents will include the Mexico Clausura (closing season) champion, Tauro of Panama and either MLS rival FC Dallas 
or El Salvador's Alianza.

In Their Words

“We didn’t play well but sometimes even when you don’t play well, to get a good result, its good. ... I think that they played a little bit different, 
but at that moment in the second half (Vancouver's flurry), we didn’t do things as expected and they got a lot of space at that moment. 
... before we play against Vancouver [May 25], we have another game and I’m focused about that and then after I will think about Vancouver.” 
- Head coach Aron Winter
“I really like how we responded to going down a goal, that is definitely something we have to take a positive from. The Voyageurs Cup (NCC) is what 
we want to win and that is going to require a good performance (next) Wednesday.” - Goalkeeper Stefan Frei

“We did alright considering it was a road game. It was a battle out there. I thought Vancouver played well, we were fortunate to be able to pull back 
the goal to make it a tie. Going back to Toronto is going to be another battle. Knowing that we have the fan support in that atmosphere, it’s going 
to be a great night.” - Defender Adrian Cann

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