Toronto FC dominates in draw with D.C. United
|Toronto Star 15 May 2019 at 20:57|
Toronto FC dominated D.C. United, peppering goalkeeper Bill Hamid with shots from all angles, but had to settle for a disappointing 0-0 tie Wednesday night.
D.C. United (7-3-3) defended tenaciously while Toronto, missing injured striker Jozy Altidore, struggled for the right final touch in outshooting the visitors 35-3 (13-2 in shots on target) before an announced BMO Field crowd of 26,116. The MLS record for most shots by one team in a game is 38.
Toronto (5-4-2) controlled the play, outshooting D.C. 20-2 (7-1 in shots on target) in the first half but could not score despite 78.9 per cent possession. The 20 shots represent a club record for a half (previous mark was 17), but bottom line was it did not produce a goal.
It marked only the second time an MLS team has registered 20 or more shots in the first half (the MetroStars had 22 in June 1998 against Tampa Bay), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The league record for shots in a half is 23 (by Sporting Kansas City against Vancouver in the second half in April 2018).
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
Toronto, now winless in three games (0-2-1), had totalled just four shots on target the previous two games. And it collected just one point in its last three home games.
Kickoff was slightly delayed by lightning strikes in the region but there were mainly clear skies when the game started at 8:15 p.m. local time.
Fans hoping to see former England captain Wayne Rooney had to look at the D.C. United bench to start. Fellow designated player Paul Arriola and star playmaker Luciano Acosta were also among the substitutes as D.C. juggled three games in six days.
The trio accounted for 12 of D.C. United’s 17 goals going into the game. Former Toronto forward Quincy Amarikwa, making his first start of the season, led the D.C. attack.
Rooney and Acosta came on in the 48th minute with Arriola joining them in the 62nd minute.
Altidore, who saw 18 minutes off the bench Saturday after missing three games with a hamstring injury, did not make the matchday 18 due to a heel injury.
The game was the first for Toronto FC winger Nick DeLeon against his former team. He played 190 regular-season and playoff games over seven seasons for D.C. United before coming north last December.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
DeLeon, who gave way to Justin Morrow to start the second, and fellow wingback Auro helped trigger the Toronto attack in the opening half.
The visitors started quickly with Quentin Westberg forced to make a diving save off Zoltan Stieber in the first 30 seconds. Amarikwa scored off the ensuing corner but the play was ruled offside.
But the rest of the half was all Toronto.
Hamid used his body to deny a Jordan Hamilton redirect from a fine Alejandro Pozuelo cross in the 14th minute. Hamilton hit the crossbar in the 33rd minute, redirecting a rebound after Hamid saved DeLeon’s header off Marky Degado’s cross.
The onslaught continued in the second with Hamid parrying a hard Delgado shot in the 53rd minute. Delgado had a good chance midway through the half but opted to pass to a teammate rather than take a shot and the attack fizzled.
Toronto’s Jonathan Osorio called for a penalty when he went down in the 79th minute but referee Drew Fischer was unmoved.
Toronto had lost its last two matches, against Atlanta and Philadelphia, and won just two of its last seven (2-4-1) as it struggles between the balance of attacking and defending.
D.C. United arrived having won its last two matches and three of the last four (3-1-0), posting two shutouts in the process.
United finished 15 points ahead of Toronto last season despite a miserable 1-9-7 road record, due in part to a front-end-loaded schedule while Audi Field was finishing construction. The team arrived with a league-leading 3-1-1 road mark this year.
Westberg started in the Toronto goal for the fifth time in the last seven matches, with former No. 1 Alex Bono on the bench. Greg Vanney opted for a 3-5-2 formation for the second game in a row.