Toronto FC faced off against their Canadian rivals the Vancouver Whitecaps Wednesday night. Both teams took a share of the spoils in a hotly contested match, which ended 1-1 after 90 minutes.
The Reds welcomed midfield maestro Michael Bradley back to the lineup after resting on Saturday versus Houston. Bradley and Warner bossed the midfield for much of the game. The combination of Warner’s “defense first” mentality and Bradley’s ability to dictate the pace of the game was effective.
Vancouver’s game plan would revolve around the speed of strikers Darren Mattocks and Eric Hurtado. Centre backs Doneil Henry and Bradley Orr were outstanding all game. Henry especially, building on his solid performance against Houston with several key tackles in the game.
Toronto began the game with attacking intent winning several free kicks and corners early on. Before being replaced in the 75th minute for fellow countryman Gilberto, Jackson was having a fantastic performance in left midfield. Jackson’s speed and strength were too tough for Vancouver’s Steven Beitashour to handle. In the 20th minute, a persistent Jackson recovered the ball in his own end, passed it to Bradley who hit an overlapping Mark Bloom on the wing. The ensuing ball from Bloom was cut out. Toronto was very decisive and dangerous on the counterattack. Plays much like this one were executed all game long but lacked finishing.
In the latter portion of the first half, Toronto began to up the tempo. Defoe scored off of a well worked offside corner.Vancouver were on the back foot.
In the 46th minute, The Reds picked up right where they left off. A well struck free kick by Bradley forced a diving save from Vancouver’s David Ousted.
Less than five minutes later, Jamaican international Darren Mattocks found the back of the net to put the Whitecaps up 1-0. Mattocks stepped off his marker (Justin Morrow) and calmly redirected the ball past Joe Bendik.
An ineffective Jonathan Osorio was replaced by Dominic Oduro in the 59th minute. Right away his speed impacted the game. Jackson received a ball from Oduro who again caused problems for the Vancouver back line. Dangling his way into the box, he was tripped up, winning the Reds a spot kick. Up stepped Jermain Defoe, who made no mistake netting his 11th goal of the season to even the score.
The draw solidifies Toronto’s position in third place, with three games in hand over the division leading Sporting of Kansas City who sit in first with 32 points from 19 games.
-TFC’s defensive fluidity
-Tandem of Bradley and Warner in the midfield
-Jackson much more involved in the attack
-Injuries to Jackson and Mark Bloom who were both instrumental to Toronto’s attack
-Gilberto still seeking consistency
Jonathan Osorio could not find his rhythm
Morrow Orr Henry Bloom
Osorio Warner Bradley Jackson