TFC landed in Kansas City on Canada Day looking for rare points on the road and a sense of recovery from the blasting they suffered in New England last weekend.
Mo Johnston, no doubt trying to find a new road game success formula, made four changes to his starting eleven. Sam Reynolds was new in net, Chris Pozniak played right back in place of Marvell Wynne (off to the Copa), Collin Samuel started on the left side of midfield in place of Andy Welsh and Todd Dunivant played left back in place of Kevin Goldthwaite, the man who was traded for him. For a team with so many new faces, the TFC held up very well in the first half, with the exception of a few seconds and that was all KC needed. TFC had the majority of possession and a strong advantage in scoring chances in the first 45, but it was Kansas City who had the only goal on a quick counter attack and an accurate shot from Michael Harrington.
Reynolds might have been a shade out of alignment on the goal, but his troubles really began with a scrambling defense trying to get back from a corner kick down the other end seconds earlier.
Cunningham. O’Brien and Dichio all had chances to score throughout the first half and at halftime it was possible to have a touch of optimism about TFC’s chances.
The second half started brilliantly for TFC. Some smart ball movement sprung an attack down the left side and then the ball was swung out to the right finding Ronnie O’Brien. He was able to send a great cross into the box and Danny Dichio headed in the equalizer. Dichio was able to elude the two central KC defenders with the simplest of moves, one step forward, then two steps back. Allow Dichio to be loose in front of the net like that and it will cost you.
The game was pretty much in balance for a while until Andrew Boyens picked up his second yellow card of the night and TFC was down to 10 players. Dichio dropped back into a central midfield role for only a few minutes before being substituted for Marco Reda to shore up the defence. Andy Welsh came in for Collin Samuel to add fresh legs (and perhaps to show Mo’s continuing faith in him- is he the super-sub off the bench that has been lacking ?).
Kansas City kept up the pressure with their advantage for the remainder of the game. Sam Reynolds made some excellent saves, a couple of them from close enough that the Wizard shooter was breathing on him. I think that Reynolds has played his way onto the squad tonight (was he the reserve keeper we borrowed from Chivas USA or what ?)
Andy Welsh was able to both help out defensively and provide some counter-attack speed right to the end. He had a last second shot at net that looked like the real deal. Jeff Cunningham was able to keep the KC defenders threatened from time to time and that was a useful safety valve to help the Toronto defending pack. TFC held the tie and got the point.
I have harped on this before, but here it goes again. I am driven crazy by the extreme homer announcers in Kansas City. The play-by-play guy’s voice goes haywire with excitement when KC is developing an attack. He stated late in the game that it was an “absolute joy” to commentate the games of this team since they never play for a tie. The analyst is worse. In the middle of the second half on a wide shot taken (I think) by Movsisyan, the fellow giving the analysis of the game said “ That’s ok. That’s alright, just keep going”. Buddy, that is not analysis, that is cheerleading. I know to go easy on The Score, the commentary and the fuzzy picture quality are not their fault and without them I would be watching this game on my computer screen, but it was a dreadful product. I expect the KC crew to know little of the visiting TFC. That is forgivable, but their cheering drives me batty .