A fourth consecutive draw once again displayed the positive and negative aspects of the Fire's 2011 season to date. On the positive side the team continues to battle, create scoring chances, and improve on their possession game. On the other hand another 1v1 with a goalkeeper was missed, miscues continue to cost goals against, and the Fire failed to gain all three points while matching up against a presumably lesser opponent.
The Fire were out of sorts to start the match allowing Toronto attackers too much space and possession in the early going. Despite holding a large advantage with the ball in the first half (62% to 38%) the Fire found themselves down 1-0 at half time as a result of an impressive 9th minute goal from rookie Joao Plata.
Although a comeback from 2 goals down on the road is an admirable effort the same troubling patterns continue. Particularly worrisome is the fact that Toronto was playing their 7th match in 22 days yet they were able to get the jump early on the Fire and despite large spells of possession, relatively soft defending resulted in two more goals allowed. Fifteen goals surrendered in nine matches won't get the job done. The Fire still need to tighten up defensively.
GK Jon Conway (5) - His gaffe in the 47th minute allowed TFC to take a 2-0 lead but he did come up with a nice save or two in the second half to keep his rating at 5. A 62nd minute diving save on a headed shot and a 70th minute charging save to stop Stevanovic were the highlights. One has to wonder if Sean Johnson will be back in the picture if healthy next weekend.
D Jalil Anibaba (5) - Got caught in space and didn't step up in time to challenge Plata on his early goal. Anibaba was not totally at fault as a missed tackle allowed Plata the freedom in a dangerous area to make a move. Does look to serve the ball forward when possible and almost succeeded in hitting a dangerous long ball into the box for Chaves in the 59th.
D Cory Gibbs (5) - The Fire were scrambling and a bit disorganized early but they did settle down somewhat after a while. Gibbs' best moment came in the 36th as a sprawling block prevented another chance from Plata.
D Yamith Cuesta (5) - Also got caught in space and didn't step up in time to prevent Plata's goal. Looked like a forward in the 34th minute with a 50 yard unchallenged run to the top of Toronto's box. Not a bad effort from Cuesta.
D Gonzalo Segares (5) - Not quite as involved in support as he usually is and had trouble handling passes on a few occasions.
M Daniel Paladini (5) - His ill advised tackle attempt allowed Plata to break free into space and score Toronto's first goal. Also continued the Fire's tradition of missing 1v1 chances against opposing goalkeepers. To be fair, Frei made a spectacular save on his chip attempt. Despite those low lights Paladini did show some battle and bite while keeping the holding mid spot warm until Logan Pause returns.
M Corben Bone (7) - Easily Bone's best performance as a pro. He was fairly quiet through the first 45 minutes or so but his emergence and willingness to attack defenders helped earn the point. An excellent move to beat his mark and cross the ball to reach Barouch for the tying goal showed a glimpse of what made him a first round selection last season. Also had another opportunity in the 48th but a cheeky shot at the near post was saved by Frei. He may have been better served to pass to an apparently open and charging Oduro in front of goal. He also did well on the other end of the pitch, clearing a TFC chance in the 73rd. Bone also provided a perfect pass that led to Paladini's break away chance.
M Marco Pappa (6) - A beautiful free kick goal in the 64th minute got the Fire back into the match. Never afraid to take a shot when the opportunity arises but he's got to do better on corner kick service.
M Dominic Oduro (5) - Always seems to be dangerous just because of his pace but several opportunities to shoot resulted in shots directly at Frei which were easily handled by the TFC keeper.
M Gaston Puerari (5) - A little bit better from the center mid role in this match from Puerari but he still seems out of place in this position. Managed a few decent combination passes and a shot on goal in the first half. Quiet in the second half as Bone came forward. Subbed for Barouch in the 58th.
F Diego Chaves (5) - Doesn't have a whole lot of help as the lone forward and took a bit of a beating from Toronto defenders. Work rate is still top notch despite bounces not going his way at the moment.
M/F Orr Barouch (6) - Drew the foul that led to Pappa's free kick goal and scored the tying goal although it wasn't pretty. Solid effort for Barouch.
M Baggio Husidic (5) - Came on in the 90th minute for Chaves.
M Bratislave Ristic (NR) - Came on in the dying seconds of extra time for Oduro as the Fire looked content to exit with a point.
C Carlos De Los Cobos (5) - The Fire came out flat but had it not been for Conway's gaffe the Fire could have won all three points. Possession has been much improved over the last two matches with the 4-1-4-1 formation but the quality of the opponent should also be taken into consideration before getting too happy. With draws piling up De Los Cobos has got be feeling some heat as a promising month of May has yielded only two points.
At Philadelphia next Saturday. The Union got off to a great start but are coming back to the pack after getting badly outplayed in Dallas 2-0.