Home MLS Toronto FC Dunfield’s late header allows TFC to snatch point in Houston

Dunfield’s late header allows TFC to snatch point in Houston

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Terry Dunfield used his head again to rescue another late result for Toronto FC.

Despite running the balance of play and looking like they were on their way to locking up a relatively easy three points, the Dynamo and their fans looked stunned the Reds escaped with a 1-1 draw at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night.

Dunfield was left unmarked in the centre of the box and had little trouble driving in a header on a long cross over top of the defence from defender Darren O’Dea. Goalkeeper Tally Hall got a hand to the ball but it went up and hit the crossbar before falling into the back of the net.

Dunfield also headed home the winner against his former team — the Whitecaps — in July.

Sitting in last place of the MLS standings, Toronto doesn’t have much to play except pride and roster spots next season. But after coming off a 2-1 loss on Wednesday and playing without Torsten Frings, Eric Hassli and Milos Kocic, the team came up with a resilient effort.

Despite the point, Toronto remains winless in six games and have accumulated just 21 points in 26 matches. With the draw, Houston did manage to extend its home unbeaten streak to 21 games stretching back to June of last season. The streak is the third-longest in league history and just a game behind the Columbus Crew streak from 2008-09.

The Dynamo now sits alone in third spot of the Eastern Conference, a point up on the idle Chicago Fire and two points back of the New York Red Bulls, who take on the East-leading Sporting Kansas City Sunday night.

Saturday’s match was the third between the two teams this season with the last match also ending in a draw, an entertaining 3-3 result in Houston with Will Bruin cancelling out Danny Koevermans’ first-half brace by scoring two late goalt. The Dynamo took the first meeting 2-0 at BMO Field, its first ever win in Toronto.

Bruin Notches Another Against Reds
After a hot start to the season where he notched 10 goals, Will Bruin had suddenly cooled off and entered the game with only one goal in his last nine matches. Playing the Reds was the perfect cure to what ailed him offensively as he opened the scoring in the 21st minute.

A terrific through ball by Oscar Boniek Garcia up the middle found an open Bruin, who lifted a right footed shot from the centre of the box above the rushing Freddy Hall into the centre of the net. The goal was his 11th of the season and third against TFC this year.

Freddy Hall was making his second straight start after playing his first MLS game in Wednesday’s 2-1 road loss to the Columbus Crew. Manager Paul Mariner decided to rest Milos Kocic for the second straight game, after having played in every game this season.

The stats were slightly deceiving after the first half as both teams landed two shots on target and each had 50 per cent possession. The Dynamo were by far the better team after 45 minutes and had better success creating opportunities with TFC struggling to move forward.

Toronto nearly got on the score sheet in the 55th minute when a great cross by Dunfield landed at Luis Silva’s feet in close. The rookie then spun and hit a left-footed strike that was corralled by Tally Hall.

Houston nearly extended its lead in the 68th minute when Macoumba Kandji connected on Bruin cross and sent a header from the centre of the box but only to be stopped by Freddy Hall.

After Dunfield’s heroics, the Reds worked hard to close out the match but the Dynamo nearly surged ahead in time added on. In the 95th minute, Calen Carr sent a cross nto the centre of the box and Je-Vaughn Watson put a header on target but Freddy Hall was able to make the big save to preserve the point.

Toronto will now switch its focus to CONCACAF Champions League when it plays its second group-stage match in a tilt against Santos Laguna at BMO Field on Tuesday night with kickoff at 8 p.m. The teams will renew rivalries in Toronto after the Mexican club eliminated TFC in Torreon during the semi-final stage of the 2011-12 edition of CCL. The last time the teams played at BMO Field it was a chippy game that nearly erupted into a brawl as both teams played to a hard fought 1-1 draw in the first leg.

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