This game could have been called Survivor: BMO Field.
It wasn’t pretty. But, down to 10 men early in the game, Toronto FC had to simply gut out a 0-0 draw with Kansas City.
That’s because TFC was more than just a man down — Julian de Guzman played almost all of the second half on one leg. The anchor of the midfield was forced to limp his way through the final minutes of the game as his coach, Preki, already had used his three subs — two of them forced by injuries to other starters.
Those three weeks off for the World Cup are looking pretty good right now.
Yes, Kansas City came into Toronto with only two wins on the season, ahead of only Philadelphia and D.C. United in the Least-ern Conference. But Nick Garcia’s silly red card put the Reds under a lot of pressure.
At the 27-minute mark, Garcia came in with his cleats raised on the Wizards’ Kei Kamara, drawing blood from the Kansas City striker.
But it got worse.
At halftime, Gambian midfielder Amadou Sanyang nearly blacked out in the dressing room, forcing Preki to yank him from the game.
“I just had kind of a headache, and felt like I could be fainting,” Sanyang said. The midfielder said that his body temperature was measured, but it came up normal. Late in the first half, he was sent hard to the ground by Kansas City defender Chance Myers, who put his shoulder squarely in Sanyang’s chest.
Sanyang had no idea if the contact caused the dizziness.
“He said he was hot,” Preki said. “I thought Africa was warmer than here. I guess maybe not.”
And even though Kansas city was reduced to 10 men when former Chelsea player Craig Rocastle was sent off after earning a second yellow card, TFC struggled with the odds evened up.
Preki had to leave de Guzman out there, playing on one leg. When striker Chad Barrett came out with a dead leg, Preki had burned his last change.
Ironically, with three minutes left in regulation, de Guzman had a great chance to win the game. A bouncing ball came back to him, at the top of the Wizards’ penalty area, but his attempt was sent over the bar.
Barrett said that if he knew de Guzman was suffering with the bad hamstring, he would have asked to stay out there, to gut out his dead leg. After all, that’s not as painful as trying to play through a hamstring pull.
“I can’t imagine playing 20 minutes on a pulled hamstring,” said Barrett of de Guzman.
But Preki said he wasn’t happy with any of his three subs — midfielders Gabe Gala, Ty Harden and striker O’Brian White. He thought they didn’t bring any energy to a team in need of a boost.
“The second half looked slow, lethargic. Both teams looked tired,” Preki said.
And the homecoming for Hamilton-born forward Teal Bunbury, winner of last year’s M.A.C. Hermann award as the top player in the NCAA, fizzled. The Wizards started the son of former Canadian national-team great Alex Bunbury, but he charted 59 forgettable minutes. The No. 4 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft still has yet to score in his rookie campaign.