October 16, 2010
Bizarre tie for TFC
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
TORONTO - There were all sorts of strange sights at BMO Field Saturday afternoon, a silent crowd, an ejected goalie, offensive prowess by the home side, but oddest of all was Columbus goalkeeper Will Hesmer scoring -- and not on his own net -- in added time to give the Crew a 2-2 tie with TFC.
Yes it was that bizarre a day.
At a stadium renowned for its game-day atmosphere, from the start, silently-protesting fans among the 18,084 on hand made the ambiance downright funereal.
Though there later was some drumming and muted chanting -- particularly after a second-half scrum -- it was nothing like a normal match here, so the message was likely received by team ownership.
The seats were littered with green-clad supporters and the Red Patch Boy supporters group, the organizers of the wear green to symbolize money protest -- waved dollar sign-clad flags.
Large banners were scattered throughout BMO Field adorned with slogans such as: "Actions not words," "All for money," and "Winning before profit."
Hesmer's shocking goal after he bolted up the field and parked himself right in front of Milos Kocic ruined what actually was Toronto's best effort in at least a month.
The Reds had rallied from an unlucky 16th-minute goal and were vying to not only become the first team to rally against Columbus after the Crew scored first this season, but also seemed on track for their first victory in 10 all-time meetings with the Crew.
"I feel like I'm going to have to start believing in a lot of different things the way that we've found ways to not get three points," said acting captain Dan Gargan after the match.
"It's crazy, a continual punch to the gut, it's really tough to take."
Toronto had tied the game via a Maicon Santos laser in the 29th minute.
The play of Nicholas Lindsay, a Brampton native signed from TFC's Academy, was a bright spot.
Only a month past his 18th birthday, Lindsay has shown significant upside and promise -- a rarity this year for any member of the club.
"(Columbus) had a hell of a time today, they couldn't deal with him," interim TFC head coach Nick Dasovic said of Lindsay, before cautioning, "we'll let him know he's not there yet. One game doesn't make you a professional, you have to be consistent."
Lindsay said that would not be a problem.
"I always stay humble always go in every day to work and just try to better myself, better my game," he said.
Lindsay's best play of the afternoon came in the 38th minute, when he placed a clever goal-mouth pass right at the feet of Jacob Peterson. Peterson fired it in for his first league goal for the Reds.
The goal was set up by strong work by Santos and Nick LaBrocca.
The sands shifted in the 72nd minute when a rare bench-clearing soccer brawl almost touched off after Crew striker Steven Lenhart barrelled over TFC starting keeper Jon Conway.
An incensed Conway got up and grabbed Lenhart's leg, sending him to the ground and touching off a mild scrum.
Conway said he felt like he let his teammates down and cost them an extra two points by subsequently being ejected, but also said he was defending himself from "a cheap shot" by Lenhart, who was also tossed.
Conway left the field gloved fists pointing skyward like a triumphant boxer. At that point, the silent protest was all but forgotten.
But the boos returned following Hesmer's stunning conversion.
Hesmer said he had never even been that far up the field, let alone scored.
It capped an off-the-wall day like few other sequences could have.