TFC and Revolution battle to a draw

New England Revolution's Darius Barnes, right, covers Toronto FC's Danny Koevermans during their...

New England Revolution's Darius Barnes, right, covers Toronto FC's Danny Koevermans during their game in Toronto on October 22, 2011. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency)

Ryan Wolstat, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:08 PM ET

TORONTO - Toronto FC’s disappointing fifth season came to an end with a frustrating 2-2 tie against league-worst New England on Saturday afternoon.

Nick Soolsma opened the scoring in the 20th minute and fellow Dutchman Danny Koevermans equalized in the 83rd after the Revolution had scored a pair, sparing the home side the ignominy of losing to the cellar dwellers.

New England ends the year at an MLS-worst 5-16-13, five points back of 6-14-15 Toronto, which finished this rebuilding campaign with 33 points in 34 games, two and six points fewer than it managed in 2010 and 2009’s 30-game seasons.

It was a matchup of the two worst teams – in terms of goal differential – though the Revolution had lost its past five while Toronto closed with an impressive four wins and five draws in its final 11 matches in all competitions.

On the heels of Tuesday’s inspiring victory in Dallas, the Reds again brought early pressure against their opponents.

Soolsma got TFC on the board when he made a nice play to tap in a shot Koevermans had originally directed at the net.

However, Toronto’s season-long nemesis, awful marking off of set pieces, caught up to the club again in the 41st minute when a Benn Feihaber corner kick was headed in by a wide open Monsef Zerka.

New England rallied from the poor start to outshoot the home side 8-6 – 6-3 on goal – in the opening half.

The Revolution took the lead off of some poor defending. Milton Caraglio found himself wide open after being sent in by Feihaber.

The goal came in the first minute after the half, before many fans had even settled back into their seats.

The Reds pulled off the draw when Koevermans converted a Gianluca Zavarise flick.

Afterwards, head coach Aron Winter and his players looked to the positives.

“We didn’t play a good game, we were a little bit flat, (because in Dallas) we have given a lot,” Winter said.

If you watch all the games we have played we have showed (the fans) that we are on the right track.”

Added Koevermans:

“The last few months we did well, we progressed, eventually got into a celebration last Tuesday and also when we got the equalizer seven minutes before time.

“We deserved that one. Everybody can go home happy. I don’t think the coaches will agree with me, but I think 2-2 is fine today.”

Toronto’s rebuild appears to be on solid footing.

Advancing to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League was a stirring achievement and the play of Koevermans and Torsten Frings was top notch.

Frings stabilized the shaky back-line, while Koevermans produced by far the best strike rate in the league.

Joao Plata had a thrilling rookie campaign, while trade and waiver acquisitions Eric Avila and Peri Marosevic greatly improved the club’s depth and offensive capabilities.

When elite stopper Stefan Frei went down due to injury, Milos Kocic stepped up and proved that he was a solid MLS keeper as well.

The fact that the team got much better as the season wore on is a testament to the abilities of the coaching staff.

They also did well to get a number of Canadians into the lineup regularly, which bodes well for the future.

On the negative side, the defence needs a ton of work in the off-season, regardless of whether 2010 MVP Adrian Cann is able to return to full strength and an away record that swelled to an atrocious 10-48-19 all-time with this year’s 1-9-7 record must be significantly improved.

The club doesn’t need to get to .500 on the road – very few teams in MLS manage the feat – but the 10 or so away points TFC manages a season needs to be boosted by six or seven points for the playoffs to become a reality.

And in Season Six, finally making the post-season will be all that matters.


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