TFC will take draw

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:12 AM ET

Toronto FC might have deserved better, but will take a 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake.

“We all are a bit disappointed, but when you have a little time to step back and think about it, that was a really good team we played, and one point is probably OK,” Reds defender Ty Harden said.

“We were fortunate to come out with a tie,” captain Dwayne De Rosario said.

It is never really a good time to have to face the defending MLS champion, currently third overall in the league standings. But Real Salt Lake came in exhausted after a tough slog against Cruz Azul in horrible conditions at Mexico City on Wednesday.

As a result, the team rested Canadian international star Will Johnson and striker Robbie Findlay for much of the match.

Those still on the pitch also looked far from peak fitness, though the team still came within two shots off the post of heading back to Utah with a win.

Control

The Reds controlled the play for the opening half hour at BMO Field on Saturday, pressuring the tired Royals and keeping control of the ball for long stretches. But a lack of finish on offence doomed the Reds’ chances of pulling off a big win.

“We can do a better job playing the ball through the middle, that’s been a problem for quite some time,” TFC coach Preki said.

“Sometimes our awareness of things around us isn’t as sharp as it could be.”

Neither is the club’s finishing touch.

The Reds continued to show a troubling inability to get shots through the defence, a problem that has plagued them for large portions of the season.

RSL finally awoke from its snooze in the 30th minute, but Stefan Frei was up to the challenge, diving to his left to get a hand on a strong strike.

TFC had the edge in shots through 45 minutes, 7-5 and 12-10 for the game.

Just as TFC had created a chance from the jump, RSL did the same at the start of the second half. Fabian Espindola found himself all alone but booted a shot off the side of the net.

Knowing the importance of the game and of creating offence, TFC subbed striker O’Brian White in for defender Maxsim Usanov at the half and later replaced Martin Saric with Jacob Peterson.

The changes allowed De Rosario to move to the attacking midfield role he favours, but he was not in top form either, likely owing to an industrious effort in TFC’s match in Panama Tuesday.

The TFC captain fired a shot wide in the 51st minute and Harden could not put it past keeper Nick Rimando either.

Frei made a strong diving stop on Javier Morales who took a pretty cross from Espindola in the 59th minute.

Mista had another opportunity in the 78th minute but his shot went wide.

After his longest outing of the season, Mista said through a translator that he is getting closer to top form with every passing game

He also denied any rift with Preki, saying he has a good relationship with the coach.

RSL’s Chris Wingert got a great chance of his own five minutes later, but pinged a drive off the right post.

Johnson winged a blast of his own off the same post in the 89th minute.

That was the kind of evening it was, nothing from either side could hit the target, leaving the 21,047 on hand with little to get overly excited about.

On the bright side for TFC, the club weathered the absence of suspended central defender Nana Attakora quite well. Salt Lake’s extremely dangerous attackers were held off the board. Ty Harden and Nick Garcia were a major reason why, along with the reliable Adrian Cann.

The Reds now have a rare week off, before another tough match at FC Dallas next Saturday.


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