'Frustrating' draw for TFC

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:30 AM ET

It was a draw that felt like a loss.

Toronto FC's home unbeaten streak continues, but the team knows it deserved better than a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas Saturday afternoon.

The Reds will have to live with the result and nine games without a loss at BMO Field, thanks to Milton Rodriguez's 77th-minute equalizer.

TFC coach Preki and his charges were upset that the team backed off after opening the scoring in the 61st minute.

TFC got on the board a minute or so after the 19,743 on hand gave the sun a raucous ovation for finally poking through the cloudy mist.

Julian de Guzman played a spectacular ball through to man-of-the-match Maicon Santos, who made no mistake left-footing a shot past a diving Kevin Hartman. But then TFC inexplicably faltered.

"Probably (Dallas) stole the point," Preki said.

"I don't think they were a threat at all, until (the goal). After we scored we relaxed. Until (then), Dallas wasn't having any kind of success getting through. Once we scored, we let them come in our half."

Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman didn't get it either, but gladly accepted the end result.

"Something happened after they scored," he said. "They fell back and gave us room to play."

Preki said he did not call for the retreat into the defensive shell and Guzman said he and his mates simply let up after finally breaking the deadlock.

"It was a relief because we'd been fighting so hard to get a goal," de Guzman said.

"We thought that was pretty much it, but we had another half an hour left.

"There are a lot of positives that we can work off this game, but (it's) not just an hour of football, it's 90 minutes."

With a goal in the books, TFC brought in its top defender, Nana Attakora, in the 68th minute. Attakora was a doubtful participant thanks to an injured toe, but showed some grit by coming in down the stretch.

The move backfired, though, when Rodriguez converted a header to tie the game.

Rodriguez had blown his club's best chance, when he shot high with just keeper Stefan Frei to beat in the 77th minute. Atonement came when he converted a David Ferreira corner kick that came about needlessly due to "casual" defending.

The Dallas offence went back to sleep after that, but the damage was done. TFC came close to netting a winner off a throw-in and, later, a header by Attakora off a corner kick in stoppage time, threatening right up until the final whistle.

TFC was the more dangerous of the two teams, both third in their respective conferences. Though Dallas has lost only twice all year, it was another troubling example of Toronto letting valuable points get away.

The first half was wet and sloppy. TFC showed some life early with good chances by De Rosario and Chad Barrett.

Dallas countered with some dangerous play, but could not seriously threaten Frei. The rain-soaked, torn-up pitch led to sloppy and, at times reckless play by both sides. Four yellow cards were handed out in the first half alone -- three to the Reds.

TFC will now have to regroup for its CONCACAF Champions League opener Tuesday at home against Honduran side Motagua.

They will go into that tilt an angry bunch.

"It's very frustrating," Frei said.

"Obviously (Dallas) were happy with it, us, absolutely not. We've got to get better."

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


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