Going into this match the New England Revolution had scored 11 goals and Toronto FC 15 in this MLS season so far.
At the conclusion of 90 plus four added minutes neither side had increased their tally and the evidence as to why both have struggled to score this season was on display for all to see.
Both sides had trouble stringing passes together let alone delivering an effective final ball into the penalty area. The movement from both sides when they attacked was very predictable and all in all it made for a pretty easy night for both sets of defender.
Aron Winter sent Toronto out in a 4-3-3 formation with Maicon Santos playing a bit further forward of the other two midfielders Mikael Yourassowsky and Nathan Sturgis.
New England lined up in their usual 4-4-2 with Kenny Mansally playing just behind striker Rajko Lekic.
Toronto created the better chances in the first half but even that was only a marginal difference. Both sides lacked effective width with both teams opting to keep their full backs at home.
Plata and Soolsma found it difficult to get past the Revolution full backs while Boggs found it almost impossible to make inroads in the other direction and Tierney could get no change from Eckersley.
Nyassi came on for Boggs at half time and offered more in the way of energy and directness although his final pass was mostly found wanting. There was to be another five substitutions in the opening 27 minutes of the second half but none were to change what often seemed to be a preordained outcome.
Let’s hope that better things are in store from Friday to Sunday with another nine games scheduled and that this game turns out to be the dullest digestive in the MLS biscuit tin.
Player Ratings (1 is low, 10 is high)
Stefan Frei – 8, usual consistent display.
Richard Eckersley – 7, possibly his best game for Toronto FC so far particularly from a defensive perspective.
Doneil Henry – 7, excellent performance especially in the first half when he dominated the New England strikers.
Ty Harden – 6, quite game but effective.
Danleigh Borman – 6, he had a lot more on his plate in the second half as Nyassi ran at him but he took the challenge on and did well.
Nathan Sturgis – 5, played a conservative game and although he never ran the midfield he was not overrun either.
Maicon Santos (off 56th) – 4, ineffective and failed to make use of the space he was granted in the first half.
Mikael Yourassowsky – 5, looks threatening at times on the ball but rarely does anything positive come of it.
Nick Soolsma (off 67th) – 4, struggled to get into the match.
Alan Gordon – 6, Toronto’s most dangerous attacking threat but at times there was a sense that he was trying things beyond his skill set.
Joao Plata (off 72nd) – 4, ineffective and his one shot on goal in the first half was close to his entire contribution.
Oscar Cordon (on 56th) – 4, looked like he is, young and raw.
Gianluca Zavarise (on 67th) – 4, capped a largely anonymous display by being sent off for a second yellow card in added time. (The second yellow was for a tackle from behind on Shalrie Joseph not a hand ball)
Javier Martina (on 72nd) – took me until the 85th minute to realize that he had come on and not gone off again.
New England Revolution
Matt Reis – 7, dealt well with anything that came his way.
Kevin Alston – 6, good recovery shown on occasion but he would be a better player if he did not get caught out of position to start with.
Ryan Cochrane (off 69th) – 6, rarely troubled in challenges but distribution was inconsistent.
A.J. Soares – 6, solid performance and he looked as if he could have influenced the game more if he had stepped up into the play when the chance arose.
Darrius Barnes – 6, quite game and rarely challenged.
Zak Boggs (off 46th) – 3, he will have better days because if he doesn’t he will be out of MLS.
Shalrie Joseph – 7, where would the Revolution be without him.
Pat Phelan – 5, diligently goes about his job but he is never going to be mistaken for the next coming of Liam Brady.
Chris Tierney – 4, looked to have found a way into the game when he tucked inside at the start of the second 45 but it proved to be a false dawn.
Kenny Mansally – 5, his game improved when he was pushed out to the left after Tierney was taken off. Never looked comfortable playing with his back to the goal as a support striker and his body position never allowed him the chance to turn his marker.
Rajko Lekic – 3, possibly the most immobile striker I have seen since Tony Cascarino stood at centre forward for Celtic.
Sainey Nyassi (on 46th) – 6, certainly offered up a threat but too much hit or miss. Very frustrating to watch, must be difficult to play with.
Zack Schilawski (on 68th) – 5, might have made a difference but did not get on the ball enough and certainly not in positions where he could cause damage.
Franco Coria (on 69th) – 5, little asked of him.
Is Toronto’s Mikael Yourassowsky becoming the equivalent to William Gallas in the Barclay’s Premier League? No opportunity to writhe around almost on the point of death seems to pass the Belgian by. Some players embellish – we know that.
But with Yourassowsky as with Gallas the pain seems much more intense, is the leg broken or the knee ligaments gone…or is he just a big girls blouse?
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