Visiting Toyota Park for the first time in the MLS, TFC was able to gather a point on the road in a strange game. Toronto was a mixture of misfiring and relentless. It was hard, sometimes, to decipher which was the home team. During the second half except for a call on Marshall in the box (which lead to pk Fire goal by Chad Barrett) and then a near-miss mess-up late in the game, you would have sensed that TFC was playing for the win and Chicago was settling for the tie. That statement might be misleading, the Fire were dangerous from time to time. However the growing number of missed chances from TFC held your attention overall.
The first half was a stalemate and ended scoreless. Carl Robinson and Ronnie O'Brien both looked off their top games. There was a constant parade of knocks and minor injuries that kept the game from creating a flow or energy. Edu and Andy Welsh were both slowed by collisions and contributed little. Dichio and Samuel were ok, but with little on offer from the midfield they did have to fend for themselves.
Jeff Cunningham did not start and did not see the pitch. Andrew Boyens also was not playing. Considering the revolving doors of trades, call-ups for U-20, Gold Cup and Copa, it should be no surprise that TFC's starting 11 was a new variation.
The parade of new faces was not as dramatic as would appear at first. Left back Todd Dunivant would have played with Marvell Wynne last year in New York and prior to that would have played some time with Marshall for the Galaxy. Collin Samuel was playing with Wynne for the first time, but with Samuel's spectacular lack of finish, Marvell could have easily thought he was still playing with Jeff Cunningham.
The TFC goal was a brilliant bolt out of the blue. Marvell Wynne sent the ball long from around the halfway line, Maurice Edu controlled the ball off of his chest and , while falling, fired the ball into the net. Wynne and Edu had strong second halfs and Ronnie O' Brien came along with force. Collin Samuel was active and maddening, he has the potential to score hat-tricks based on last night's performance. He has to finish.
So it was a turbulent ride tonight. Willing to settle for a tie, mad to see TFC fall behind, thrilled to watch them even it up on a brilliant goal, willing to settle for a tie and then at the final whistle convinced that a win was there for the taking but for some finishing, pretty well sums the game up.
A couple of Still Kicking observations
-Calen Carr of Chicago had an impressive headband. It looked so wide that it probably was bought with matching mittens.
-The TFC need for depth on the bench is still there. It would have been nice to see another substitute with goal scoring potential come on late in the game, but Cunningham is being saved to ensure recovery and who else was there ? Andrea Lombardo would have fit the bill.
Chicago - Chad Barrett (pk) 70
Toronto - Maurice Edu 78
Chicago- CJ Brown 31
Toronto - M. Edu 34
Toronto- Jim Brennan 69 (arguing the pk call)
Toronto - Chris Pozniak 76
cheers and maybe more in the morning
Next game - Houston on Sunday July 15th evening game