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Game 24: Crew 1 – TFC 1

September 14, 2008

A tie and some hardware, that is the good news from a dreary match on a dreary day in Toronto. From the opening, the Crew did not look completely comfortable. The wind and turf were hard to adjust to and the rain made the turf extra slick. The result was a game that did not flow as players tried to adjust.

The Crew got off on the wrong foot again on the turf. A foul led to an Amado Guevara free kick. He centered it to Carl Robinson. Robinson’s shot was a beauty as he put it past Hesmer for a 1-0 lead. The Crew tried to respond and did earn a penalty as Wynne brought down Rogers from behind. It appeared a little soft, but there was no reason for Rogers to go down in that situation. He had an open look to goal. Sadly, Moreno’s penalty was soft and Sutton parried it away. Yes, I could also get upset that Sutton was several yards off the line when the PK was taken, but I rarely see that called, as much as I would like to.

The Crew had a couple of half chances, but no real offense as possession continued to be disjointed throughout the first half. If the Crew were going to break through, it was going to take some individual brilliance. Without Schelotto, the Crew were lacking in that department until Pat Noonan decided to create a little magic and took a half chance that turned into a goal. The chance really came out of nothing. Toronto did not close down Noonan, so he drove deeper towards the box. Noonan made a little side step and got past a diving Guevara and took a left footed shot that should have been stopped by Sutton, but went past him to tie the game at one.

The goal gave me some hope that the Crew might be able to push through for the win in the second half, but they would not be able to break through. While the Crew held a majority of the possession, Toronto had more chances to break the deadlock as the defense allowed TFC several close chances at goal. Luckily, Toronto was unable to capitalize. Gaven had a couple to runs deep into the TFC end, but was not into position to capitalize and Ekpo came in and helped Carroll solidify the midfield, but the sustained pressure really never led to a good opportunity. Gaven did redirect a cross in stoppage time, but Garey skied the shot over the crossbar.

I would have liked to see three points, but the Crew never looked settled in the conditions at BMO field. I did like some of the options that Coach Schmid brought off the bench. Ekpo was a clear attempt to go for the win and he performed well in central midfield. Garey was another offensive sub, but with slightly less positive results. Six games remain. The Crew still lead the East by 3 points, but face an improved New York at home on Thursday and have New England, New York, Chicago, and DC still on the schedule. It is good to have a cushion, but the team will have to work hard to secure home field advantage.

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