On FieldTurf whipped by wind and rain, keeping your footing can be harder than keeping the ball, and neither the Red Bulls nor Toronto FC gained much traction as they battled to a 1-1 tie Thursday
night at BMO Field.
A game of 11 shots offered little dazzling play yet difficult though the conditions were, only 20 fouls were called and three cautions issued.
goals, unsurprisingly, came on set plays amid defensive miscues. An utterly unmarked Marco Velez
headed TFC into the lead midway through the first half on a quickly taken
free kick, and Dave van den Bergh
equalized six minutes before halftime with a low free kick that New York defended poorly.
accustomed to playing on artificial turf in poor weather at the Meadowlands, took the game to TFC in the first 20 minutes, but lapsed as Hunter Freeman
argued a foul call with
referee Abby Okulaja
and Velez nailed Robert's excellent service past Jon Conway
TFC lined up a five-man wall after a handball by Tyrone
near the middle of the field, which is always a tough spot to defend a set play. It takes too many players in the defensive wall to cover most of the goal, so one side or both posts
must be left exposed.
Neither the wall nor keeper Greg Sutton
covered his right post and that's where Van den Bergh drilled his shot.
conditions and scrappy play took their toll on Red Bull midfielder Claudio Reyna
, who left the game at halftime to be replaced by Sinisa Ubiparipovic
. A lower left
leg injury sidelined Reyna, according to the team.
Midfield scuffles broke out early in the second half. Jozy Altidore
pushed Robert, and when Freeman interceded,
Robert shoved him. After a few seconds of players jawing at each other, Okulaja carded Robert. Amado Guevara
, whose game was rather quiet as he and his mates struggled
to break down his former team, picked up a caution shortly thereafter for crashing into Mike Magee
Play deteriorated as conditions worsened and the teams settled
into a rigid regimen of trying to force mistakes without taking risks. Red Bull brought on Dane Richards
, injured during preseason, in the 65th minute but he made little headway in
the wind and rain.
Not many ties have been played in MLS so far this season but for both teams, given the conditions and hazards, a point apiece seemed good enough.
May 1 in Toronto Toronto FC 1 New York 1. Goals:
Velez 1 (Robert) 22; van den Bergh 39. Toronto FC
Greg Sutton, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Marco Velez, Jim Brennan, Rohan Ricketts (Jarrod Smith 74), Maurice Edu, Carl Robinson, Laurent Robert, Amado Guevara, Danny Dichio (Jeff
Cunningham 83). New York --
Jon Conway, Kevin Goldthwaite, Jeff Parke, Hunter Freeman, Danleigh Borman (Dane Richards 55), Mike Magee, Claudio Reyna (Sinisa
Ubiparipovic 46), Seth Stammler, Dave van den Bergh, Jozy Altidore (John Wolyniec 91+), Juan Pablo Angel. Referee:
Abiodun Okulaja Att.: