May 22, 2011 MLS--Toronto Draws On Depth (from

Toronto Draws On Depth
Asif Hossain 
Dick's Sporting Goods Park 
Commerce City, CO 

Defining Moment

Toronto FC was a fingertip and a crossbar away from earning three valuable points on the road, but Mikael Yourassowsky's 62nd minute shot escaped the 
back of the net and the Reds drew MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids nil-nil away on Sunday. 

Yourassowsky was brought in to start in the absence of three regular midfielders for Toronto. The Belgian wide player was effective on the left side 
on and off the ball and nearly put a finishing touch on his return to the lineup. On a quick break, Javier Martina put Yourassowsky through 
on a neatly constructed one-two between the European players. With Anthony Wallace closing down quickly, Yourassowsky blasted a ball from just inside 
the area that rattled the crossbar. Colorado keeper Matt Pickens seemed to get a touch on the ball though a corner was not given. 

Pitch Battles

A draw against a team of Colorado's caliber in the high altitude of Commerce City can be viewed as a positive, particularly given the limitations head 
coach Aron Winter was presented with ahead of the contest. On Wednesday, Toronto lost midfielders Jacob Peterson and Tony Tchani to injury in Vancouver. 
In addition, the central midfielder in his 4-3-3 formation, Julian de Guzman, was suspended for card accumulation. 

Toronto started Nathan Sturgis in de Guzman's spot, while Alen Stevanovic and Yourassowsky manned the flanks. The new midfield did not look out 
of place, nor were the Reds starved for service from the trio. In the first half, Toronto created the better chances between the two sides, including 
a Nick Soolsma attempt that was saved by Pickens. At the restart in a complete reversal of the Vancouver match, Toronto took the game to Colorado and 
looked likely to score. Their draw on the road is only the second point away from BMO Field in league play. The Reds remain one of seven MLS teams 
that have yet to record a victory away from home. 

Man of the Match

The whole Toronto team played a stellar match defensively on way to their third clean sheet in MLS this season. They restricted Colorado to just two 
shots on target and generally kept the Rapids from threatening Stefan Frei's goal. Dicoy Williams stood out at the back with his game high 10 clearances; 
and Richard Eckersley was sound in his right fullback position, often threatening going forward - including on a 50th minute dash and drive that put 
Pickens on notice. 

Yourassowsky was involved in the build-up to the Soolsma chance in the first half and is worthy of MOTM considerations. Adrian Cann enjoyed a strong 
74 minutes, his partnership with Williams helped to silence Colorado sniper Conor Casey, while Dan Gargan had a team high four tackles to go with 
five clearances and a block.

Starting XI

Toronto - Stefan Frei; Richard Eckersley, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann (Ty Harden 74'), Dan Gargan; Alen Stevanovic, Nathan Sturgis (Nana Attakora 84'), 
Mikael Yourassowsky, Nick Soolsma, Javier Martina, Joao Plata (Maicon Santos 60') 
... Substitutes not used: Milos Kocic, Matt Gold, Oscar Cordon 
... Caution: Martina 83'

Colorado - Matt Pickens; Kosuke Kimura, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Anthony Wallace; Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, 
Jamie Smith (Sanna Nyassi 45'), Quincy Amarikwa (Wells Thompson 67'), Conor Casey (Andre Akpan 61') 
... Substitutes not used: Steward Ceus, Mike Holody, Joseph Nane, Scott Palguta 
... Caution: Wynne 69'

Following Fixture
NCC Final 2nd Leg
Wednesday, May 25
Rogers Sportsnet
8 p.m. ET

Toronto will take on Vancouver in the second leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship in a bid to win a third straight Voyageurs Cup. A Maicon 
Santos away goal in the 1-1 first leg away draw means a scoreless match or a win will send Toronto through to the 2011/12 CONCACAF Champions League 
preliminary round. Vancouver has never won the NCC crown and believes strongly that this is their chance. The Whitecaps had the weekend off so their 
players should be well rested ahead of this contest. 

Preki Post Game

Colorado had much more of the possession in this game at 64% though quality chances were rare for the Rapids. They had seven attempts on goal 
to Toronto's six, but many of the shots were wishful volleys from distance. In the first hour Toronto looked brighter before Winter switched from 
attack to defensive mode, choosing to focus on preserving the point - and players - ahead of the vital NCC Final on Wednesday. 

Toronto's long stretch of games from late April to the end of this month (11 in 35 days with approximately 18,300 kilometers of travel) will finally 
come to an end next Saturday before the Reds see six days without a match or an airport. Toronto will hope to have the services of Danleigh Borman, 
Jacob Peterson, Tony Tchani, Julian de Guzman and Alan Gordon during the upcoming home stretch, though coping without these players in the fashion 
TFC managed in Colorado hints that the team boasts some depth.

In Their Words

“The opponent that we were playing against, Colorado, has a good team. They are strong, physical, they always want to play the long ball, and they have 
the tall guys that make it difficult for their opponents. Today we started very offensive and more play in the midfield, I am glad that we got the 
tie because the guys played very well, especially since there were some players that I could not start with due to some of the regular eleven being 
a little injured." - Head coach Aron Winter
“From the outset we decided to keep it tight and to keep everything wide and think that we did that today. We proved that we could go into games like 
this, tough games, and keep clean sheets. ... We felt the altitude yesterday in the warm-up. It was really difficult. But we worked well together and 
came out with a good result even though we probably could have gotten a 1-0 victory.” - Defender Richard Eckersley

"I think overall we did alright. A point on the road isn't too bad, especially in a place like (Colorado). It's a tough place to play with the altitude 
and they are a good team. ... It's been a while since I played with the first team. It's been a lot of training, it felt good to get back on the field, 
definitely. Took a few minutes to get back at that level but it felt good. ... Overall it was good trip for us (Vancouver and Colorado). 
- Midfielder Nathan Sturgis

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