By: Cory Schulz
BMO Field graciously hosted the defending Champions Real Salt Lake Saturday night. With both teams coming off CONCACAF Champions League group stage losses midweek, both clubs were looking to get back to their winning ways. Toronto lost 1-0 to Arabe Unido in Panama on Tuesday while Real Salt Lake lost a high scoring affair to Cruz Azul 5-4 in Mexico City on Wednesday. Both teams looked visibly fatigued, especially Toronto, who was playing their third match in an eight day span.
As a result, Toronto extended their winless streak to three games after drawing Real Salt Lake 0-0, and is becoming evident that the reason for this lack of success in recent weeks is due to a lack of offensive production in the midfield. With injuries to Maicon Santos and Chad Barrett, the Reds desperately needed a spark from the middle of the park. Toronto only had 4 shots on goal and when asked what the initial problem was Preki responded by saying he was visibly frustrated with the quality of the midfield and its service to the forwards: ” The service could be better, It’s an area we’ve had trouble with from the start. We need to get
better in the final third of the field, but we keep working on it in
The best chances came at the hands of the visitors. Javier Morales forced a diving save off a well placed header from Reds Keeper Stefan Frei in the 60th minute after a well weighted cross. In the 82nd, Wingert danced his way through the defense and unleashed a snap shot that beat Frei but unfortunately not the woodwork. Five minutes later the same post helped Frei out once again when Canadian International Will Johnson’s attempt almost gave Real the lead.
The tie still keeps the Reds in third place in the Eastern conference but unfortunately after bouncing between sixth and eighth place in the playoff race, the Reds find themselves in ninth as San Jose, Colorado and Seattle have all moved up the ranks in recent weeks.[picappgallerysingle id=”9622863″]
With only nine games to go in the season and only three left at home, the players know this is their time to shine: “We have to pull out some big wins on the road, “I hope every guy is ready and focused to do that because it’s a tough task ahead of us,” Toronto FC captain Dwayne De Rosario said after the match.
Toronto are a terrible 1-7-1 on the road this year and with two games remaining against FC Dallas and the upcoming absences to Dwayne De Rosario and Julian De Guzman due to Canadian National Team duties the pressure will be even greater on the team, and more predominantly who will fill the void in the midfield.
These two teams will face each other two more times, both as a result of CONCACAF Champions League group play. The first game will be played on September 15th in Utah at the Rio Tinto Stadium and the second encounter taking place September 28th at BMO Field back in Toronto.