TFC’s Bendik keeps former Reds at bay By Steven Sandor Posted on August 25, 2013 1 0 540 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Joe Bendik Had Toronto FC been able to beat D.C. United Saturday at RFK Stadium, the Reds would have reached a moderately significant signpost in what looks to be the club’s seventh consecutive playoff-less season. With a win over the league-basement dwelling D.C. United side, TFC would have reached 23 points on the season, equalling the team’s point total from 2012… with nine games to spare. TFC, though, will have to wait to get to that 23-point mark. After a wonder goal from former Red Dwayne De Rosario — who continues his trend of tormenting his former employer — TFC needed to fight back for a 1-1 draw, courtesy of Bobby Convey’s first-ever goal for the club. So, it’s 21 points with nine games to go. But, make no mistake, while Convey got the goal — the Reds’ man of the match was clearly Joe Bendik. It was the TFC keeper who gave the Reds the chance to get that single point. He could do nothing to stop De Rosario’s magical strike; the Canadian took a ball on the right side, then drifted towards the middle, at the same time going away from goal, before unleashing a long drive that curled inside the post and under the bar. But, when Bendik was able to get set, he made the saves. Right before the end of the first half, he rose to meet a long drive from De Rosario, and got just enough to deflect it away from goal. After Convey tied the game, Bendik scampered across goal just in time to deny ex-TFC forward Luis Silva the chance to break the deadlock. Silva got parallel to the ground, laying out to get to a cross, but Bendik stopped the drive. Bendik also got to another tricky, skidding effort from De Rosario. Really, without Bendik, the ex-TFC players get the last laughs and there’s more hand wringing in Toronto about the players who got away. As for TFC’s goal, the Reds got a major assist from a Canadian — but it was one of the three Canucks who was appeared in D.C. United black and red who did TFC a favour. Defender Dejan Jakovic made a poor clearing attempt, and the ball went right to winger Reggie Lambe, who took the ball down the right side and made a good low pass to Convey, who arrived in the box just in time to one-touch a shot into the bottom corner. Jakovic, De Rosario and substitute Kyle Porter made up D.C. United’s Canadian contingent. For TFC, the most troubling part of the evening wasn’t DeRo’s goal; it was the fact that the team’s best player this season, rookie Jonathan Osorio, had to come off in the 34th minute. Coach Ryan Nelsen addressed the situation after the match: “He got an ankle injury. He actually might have done a bit of it yesterday in training and I think he probably aggravated it more. We’re hoping he’s going to be all right. He didn’t want to come out but he wasn’t himself, you could see that. Hopefully, we can strap him up and get him ready.” Even though TFC was able to salvage a point, breaking a two-game losing skid, the Reds are 15 points out of fifth place in the Eastern Conference, and the final playoff spot. With nine games left on the season, the Reds are playing for pride and jobs once again. But, 23 is that magic number — the team is two points away from officially being able to claim it’s not as bad as the 2012 edition. Of the nine games left, there’s home dates to Eastern Conference strugglers New England and D.C. United, so it would be improbable to see this group not find two more points this year. But, as TFC fans will tell you, stranger and more painful things have happened to this club in the past. So, there is no point to counting the chickens before they hatch.