Home MLS Toronto FC Singin’ in the rain: TFC ends BMO Field winless drought in downpour

Singin’ in the rain: TFC ends BMO Field winless drought in downpour

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It was only fitting that the end of Toronto FC’s long goal drought and even longer drought of wins at BMO Field was ended amidst a downpour. In one of the craziest finishes in club history, the Reds fought through a driving rainstorm to score twice in the final seven minutes to steal a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew.

Jonathan Osorio’s tremendous conversion in the 87th minute snapped a 422-minute goalless drought for the home side. As if on cue, a steady rain that had begun midway through the second half suddenly turned into a absolute deluge. The Reds continued to attack through the storm, nearly scoring on Steven Caldwell’s header in the 90th minute that bounced off the left post.

The true winner came on the edge of stoppage time in the 94th minute. Bobby Convey sent a long and well-placed cross through the rain and onto the feet of Andrew Wiedeman. The forward, who had entered the game as a halftime substitute, was faced with a defender’s challenge and keeping his balance on the wet grass but Wiedeman got just enough of a touch before falling to direct the ball inside the right post. Just to make things more surreal, the rain let up almost the moment that Wiedeman’s attempt crossed the line.

“Bobby got open down the line and put in a hell of a ball with a right foot,” Wiedeman said. “He put in a great ball and I was just able to get on the end of it and it went in….I thought that it was going wide at first, to be honest with you.”

It was Wiedeman’s first goal of the season in a rare bit of playing time for the striker, who had only received 207 minutes of action over four games in all competitions this season. Ironically, Wiedeman’s first goal of the 2012 season was the winner in TFC’s 2-1 win over Colorado on July 18, 2012 — the last time the Reds were victorious on their home turf, a span of 17 matches at BMO Field.

Wins of any sort are a rarity for TFC, of course, as the club snapped a six-game winless streak and earned just its third victory of the season. It was a result that Osorio felt was a long time coming given how often the Reds had been victimized by late-game breakdowns of their own.

“Justice was finally served for us. We’ve been working hard and we’ve come close and we finally turned the tables today,” Osorio said.

Osorio’s play has been one of the bright spots of this down season for TFC, as the 21-year-old has become a fixture in the Reds midfield. The Toronto-area native’s four goals are second only to Robert Earnshaw on the club and none of Osorio’s goals were bigger than his strike against Columbus.

It was Convey again who started the play, sending a ball through to Jeremy Brockie, who flicked it over to Osorio racing into the box. Osorio outpaced veteran defender Chad Marshall and put the ball in, leading to a wild shirt-swinging celebration that, naturally, drew a yellow card as per MLS regulations.

“That was my first card. I think I’ll always remember it,” Osorio joked. “The goal lifted our spirits and gave us the mentality that we could do this. The first couple of minutes we were pressuring them after the goal and we could see they were starting to crumble….It was a big goal.”

Osorio wasn’t terribly pleased with his overall performance in the game, TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said, but Nelsen felt Osorio’s continuing effort was what led to the equalizer.

“What I love about that kid is that he never stops running, he never stops trying to do things,” Nelsen said. “Finally he got free and it was a composed finish, like a veteran not a young local kid. He’s not a kid — he’s a man now, he’s a good pro.”

It was only Toronto FC’s second win in 18 all-time meetings against Columbus and early on, it seemed as if TFC would again come up short in their hunt for the, ahem, “coveted” Trillium Cup. The Crew jumped ahead in the 17th minute on a 30-yard shot from Dominic Oduro that shot along the ground and somehow beat Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik, who took a poor angle on only a borderline-challenging shot.

Bendik redeemed himself with quality saves on Oduro and Jairo Arrieta a few minutes later but it seemed as if the die had been cast due to a continued lack of finishing from the TFC attack. Maybe the best early chance for the Reds came in first half stoppage time when Brockie looked to have a clear path to the net but he was taken down on a strong tackle from Agustin Viana.

Nelsen said the Reds were “punishing themselves” in the first half rather than falling back from anything Columbus was doing to them and responded by bringing on Wiedeman and Reggie Lambe for striker Justin Braun and midfielder Jeremy Hall at halftime.

“We just had to change it. Obviously the first half just wasn’t clicking. Passing wasn’t fluid, it was very static and it just wasn’t right. Didn’t feel right, didn’t look right,” Nelsen said. “Unfortunately Jeremy and Justin had to be sacrificed for that but to fair, it could’ve been five or six of them at halftime.”

Provided that the pouring rain and a Toronto FC comeback win aren’t signs that the apocalypse is nigh, TFC’s next match is on Sunday night in New England.

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One Comment

  1. cwell

    July 27, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Another nice aspect of Osorio’s goal is that he started his run from about mid-field.

    Reply

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