|Toronto FC’s Andy Iro (left) fights for possession of the ball with San Jose Earthquakes’ Bobby Burling as teammate Torsten Frings tries to assist on Saturday night. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters)
TORONTO - In a season filled with letdowns, Toronto FC gave its fans another heartbreaker on Saturday night.
In front of 21,117 vocal supporters at BMO Field, the Reds conceded an 87th-minute equalizer to Chris Wondolowski after outplaying the San Jose Earthquakes for the balance of the evening.
The Wondolowski strike negated an Eric Avila goal in the 33rd minute and resulted in the team being booed off of the field after one of its best efforts of the season.
It was a matchup of two of Major League Soccer’s weakest sides. TFC came in with four wins and 23 points on the season, San Jose five wins and 25 points.
While San Jose put the pressure on both at the start of the game and right after halftime, it was Toronto’s offence that carried the play for the bulk of the game.
Trailing 1-0, San Jose got a huge break in the 75th minute when a goal by Joao Plata was whistled down due to a wrongly called offside. Replays showed that Plata definitely was on-side, but that’s the way things have gone for the last-place team this season.
San Jose extended its winless skid to 13 games, but stole a point.
The Avila opener was a beauty. With defenders converging on him, forward Peri Marosevic just managed to get the ball away after it appeared he had held it too long.
With keeper Jobn Busch lunging at him, Avila coolly deposited the ball into the far corner for his first as a Red.
Inelegible for the CONCACAF Champions League, Avila was more rested than his teammates, who had played half a game on Wednesday night and a full match the next day.
Avila was missed in the CONCACAF matches. He brings creativity and craftiness to his attacking midfield role. It is not a stretch to suggest that the Avila- Torsten Frings-Julian de Guzman midfield is the most technically sound group TFC has ever employed.
A minute after Avila’s goal, Marosevic tested Busch again, but his low shot was stopped. Busch had to make a few strong saves to keep the Earthquakes in the game.
Counterpart Milos Kokic made two excellent stops in the second half and had no chance on the Wondolowski goal.