It was yet another “must win” for RBNY and their hopes of making the playoffs, and facing Toronto FC seemed an easy feat for RBNY, who had managed to thrash Toronto 5-0 in their last meeting at RBA on July 6th. Alongside that last defeat, RBNY has won the last four games against Toronto. For many a faithful fan, a win seemed imminent.
One cannot forget that DP, Torsten Frings, who has seemed to steer TFC in the right direction did not make the last trip to NY, but now three months later, the former German National has found an unstoppable partnership with Koevermans.
With Rafa Marquez back in the starting line-up for RBNY; not in his regular center back spot, but center midfield, Backe had to make some changes and at first glance the 4-4-2 seemed a solid decision. Rost would guard the net; back four consisted of Solli, Keel, Ream and Miller, with the midfield seeing the likes of Richards, Tainio, Marquez and Lindpere, and the once unstoppable duo of Rodgers and Henry upfront.
The first half left one wondering if there would be any goals in this match, with both teams flailing about, Rodgers the only one making a semi-decent attempt but with Frings in the back, there was no breaking through. As the halftime whistle blew, possession was split evenly and RBNY came to realize that this TFC team was not the same one they had faced three months ago.
As the second half started, RBNY seemed flat. The desire that once burned within this team had seemed to fade. Hopes had been rekindled as RBNY had won the last two out of three matches, following a period that saw tie after tie.
Fans would only have to wait until the 50th minute to see the talent of DP, Koevermans who found the net as the RBNY defense shut down, the boys in white assuming it was off sides. Rafa and Tainio seemed nonexistent and lacking commitment as Koervermans broke through the both of them, without any effort. It would be Koevermans 7th goal of the season,and would put TFC in the lead.
Backe waited until the 77th minute to make his first substitution, as Rafa came off to be replaced by youngster, Dax Mccarty. Four minutes later, Backe pulled out his secret weapon, Agudelo and took Keel off. It was clear that the time had come to attack, or leave Toronto with a loss.
The last ten minutes would see RBNY trying aimlessly to find that net, with Henry just short of finding the ball and an open net. But their desire would finally pay off in the 88th minute as TFC defense unraveled for a second, and for Henry that second would be enough to equalize as the game was drawing to a close. The ball came off of a corner kick by Dax, and would be Henry’s 13th goal of the season.
As the final whistle blew, it was another tie for RBNY. TFC fans upset by such a last minute goal, and the one second in the match where TFC lost control would cost them two points. This game certainly highlighted the success stories of DP selections; with the Frings and Koevermans combo bringing life to the Toronto squad, who seemed to be lackluster when the season started. For RBNY, this game simultaneously highlighted the flaws of DP selection, with Marquez underperforming; moving the ball left and right but not creating any chances, while young Dax actually shows heart while on the pitch.
At the end of the day, the reality remains that even with big name acquisitions; a successful season is not guaranteed. RBNY still lacks unity amongst the squad, and until they start playing as a team, it won’t make any difference.
RBNY is scheduled to face LA Galaxy on Tuesday October 4th, as the regular season comes to a close.
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