TFC fails to finish the job

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

Toronto FC was fit to be tied last night.

And with every point meaningful in a desperate playoff push, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing for a franchise that underwent a recent roster upheaval.

A point taken, but more importantly in the big picture are the two points squandered as the host Reds tied the mighty New England Revolution 1-1 at BMO Field.

In the final analysis, TFC should have won this game.

In the final moments, it also was a game TFC could have lost had 'keeper Greg Sutton not produced a save and defender Julius James not blocked a New England salvo.

In a season of should-haves, the Reds should have scored at least three times, only to find heartache.

Unless it discovers a finish and more polish in defending its box, TFC's dash to the finish line and the end of the season, which has nine games remaining, will come up short.

There's also the issue of winning games on the road, a feat that has gone mainly unfulfilled.

No wonder head coach John Carver tried to pull out all the stops last night, imploring his team to go forward.

"I went for it," Carver said as he went with an attacking 3-5-2 alignment. "I wanted to win the game because we know what our record (2-8) is on the road.

"We're not picking up any points and I want to try to get as many points at home."

Maybe the addition of goal scorer Carlos Ruiz will help the goal-hungry Reds, but the Guatemalan was not in the lineup last night.

Carver said Ruiz, who was acquired in a deal with the L.A. Galaxy, was back in Los Angeles to tie up some loose ends following his national team commitment. Carver is hopeful that Ruiz will arrive in Toronto tomorrow.

Ruiz is one of many recent changes engineered by TFC.

One of the biggest losses occurred off the pitch and it involved the league's reigning rookie of the year, midfielder Maurice Edu, whose $5-million US transfer to Glasgow Rangers now is complete.

Edu dropped by BMO Field last night for the final time before heading to Scotland.

Edu met his former TFC teammates and thanked them for their support.

"There's a fine group of guys in that locker room," Edu said during a pre-game media gathering. "I think they'll be fine. They're making a push for the playoffs and I think they're going to make it.

"They have the talent to go as far as they need to go. It's a matter of executing and having a little bit of luck as well."

The night began with New England sitting atop the MLS standings.

In the days leading up to last evening, TFC players spoke about their matchup as a measuring stick, a chance to test themselves against an elite side.

Taylor Twellman's back-breaking goal revealed the Reds' inability to defend.

For unknown reasons, TFC allowed one of the league's most prolific goal scorers to get into the box unmarked.

A diagonal cross from the left flank and one flick of Twellman's head and New England had seized a 1-0 lead in the game's 35th minute.

As clinical a finish as Twellman fashioned, Chad Barrett's equalizer was world class.

Denied a goal in the 63rd minute when he misfired, Barrett -- one of TFC's newest faces -- made amends three minutes later.

After accepting a cross into the box, Barrett turned and released a left-footed rocket that soared into the Revolution net.

Barrett would be replaced in the 78th minute, an expected move given his history of leg cramps.

Rohan Ricketts assisted on Barrett's marker and deserves plenty of praise for his work, but Ricketts blew two sure-fire goals.

"I thought we deserved to get something more," Carver said of the end result.


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