The return of MLS from the World Cup break hasn't exactly provided scintillating, attractive soccer. This past weekend's slate of games weren't pretty and this match followed suit. Neither team seemed like they wanted to attack much in the first twenty minutes and the Fire still didn't show any desire to push the game even after Toronto's Luke Moore was shown a straight red card for an inadvertent elbow to Chris Ritter's head in the 29 minute.
Playing up a man for over an hour, Chicago finally controlled possession (62-38) but still scored only once after creating several chances in the second half. They also allowed the customary goal during a defensive lapse that enabled a completely unmarked Jackson to head home an uncontested cross in 42nd. That unchallenged play occurred while the Fire were up a man. Toronto essentially packed it in from there and happily played for the draw on the road.
As Chicago's record falls to 2-4-9 they're not only on pace to break their own previous league record for draws in one season (16), but they're also facing the prospect of failing to qualify for postseason play for the fourth time in five seasons.
Another day. Another missed opportunity.
GK Sean Johnson (5) - Toronto only managed 7 attempts on goal and 2 of them were on target. A fingertip deflection in second half stoppage time may have kept Dominic Oduro from truly spoiling the day for Chicago.
D Greg Cochrane (5) - A better game than some of his most recent outings. Did well enough against Oduro for most of the night while he was in there. Sent a good ball in over top which set up Magee for a chance in the 19th. Subbed out in the 72nd as Yallop decided to shift into a modified 3-5-2 and push for the win.
D Bakary Soumare (5) - Actually had a fairly solid game and provided a few decent balls out of the back. Gave Defoe too much time and space to deliver his cross in the 42nd but one can't blame him for not charging too eagerly at the English forward with little help behind him.
D Patrick Ianni (4) - The little help behind him on the play came in the person of Ianni who somehow managed to lose Jackson at the far post. The Fire are good for at least one lapse per game leading to a goal and this time it was Ianni's turn.
D Lovel Palmer (5) - Back in the line up after missing the last two USOC games. Didn't hurt but didn't distinguish himself either.
M Jeff Larentowicz (5) - The Fire actually controlled midfield for once but then again, they should have. Playing 10v11 for 60 minutes also allowed them to complete 84% of their passes. Larentowicz was decent in the middle but the Fire had absolutely nothing going forward from the middle of the pitch in the first half. Catch his post game comments here.
M Chris Ritter (5) - Poked a shot directly at Bendik with a good look at goal in the 29th. Taking an elbow to the face was his biggest contribution.
M Grant Ward (5) - A few decent crosses and a few turnovers on the outside. Did get both of his shots on frame.
M Harry Shipp (6) - Provided the only score for the home side with another well taken strike from inside the area. Shipp is the clear front runner for MLS Rookie of the Year and has saved the Fire on more than one occasion this season. "It's really frustrating. It sucks. It feels like a loss," said Shipp after the game.
F Mike Magee (5) - Got credited for an assist for passing the ball to Shipp on the goal and may have drawn a penalty in the 14th minute but nothing was awarded. A well struck free kick in the 54th was stopped by TFC 'keeper Joe Bendik. Needs to be more involved getting forward and creating offensively when little is happening.
F Quincy Amarikwa (5) - A few good moments with some fancy footwork in the box to create chances and a header that just missed wide. Set up a clear look for Magee in the 52nd and the ensuing scramble in front of the net resulted in yet another missed scoring opportunity. His yellow card in first half stoppage time means he will miss the Sporting KC game on Saturday due to card accumulation.
M Alex (5) - The Fire played better offensively upon his insertion to start the second half. He was certainly more active than Ritter but an errant pass in the 76th slowed down a clear man advantage counter.
F Juan Luis Anangono (5) - Entered the match in the 72nd for Cochrane. Both of his shot attempts were wide of the target.
A trip to Sporting Kansas City where the defending champions will still likely be without Graham Zusi and Matt Besler.
You would think that provides another good chance to pick up points but Toronto FC played this match without Michael Bradley, Gilberto, and Dwayne De Rosario (who was in the 18).