TORONTO – It’s been that kind of year at BMO Field.
Toronto FC closed out their 2012 home campaign on Saturday afternoon with a 0-0 draw against rivals Montreal Impact, who were making their first ever visit to Toronto in MLS regular season play.
Goalkeeper Freddy Hall helped TFC hold on to their first league shutout since July 14 with a couple of key stops during a hectic series of stoppage time assaults on his goal. Toronto were also helped by a lack of sharpness from Montreal’s attackers, a common theme that impacted both sides in the scoreless match.
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Video: Watch the Game In Six minutes.
While Toronto’s winless run reaches 13 matches, the expansion Impact moved closer to registering the best record by a Canadian team in MLS this year, which would give them the No. 1 seed in next year’s Canadian Championship. Despite their current five-game winless run, the Impact’s 42 points are on par with Vancouver, who are still battling for a playoff spot in the West.
Montreal, who generated the best build-ups in the match, started out on the offensive and their rookie forward Andrew Wenger had three different looks at goal in the opening 15 minutes. The closest he came to scoring was in the 13th minute when he latched onto a through ball up the gut of the Toronto defense and touched the ball wide right of the goal.
A shorthanded TFC side, already missing injured defender Darren O’Dea and suspended starter Ryan Johnson, had just 18 available players but they were forced to make an early substitution at the half-hour mark when central defender Logan Emory came off with an apparent right shoulder injury. Veteran Adrian Cann filled in for his first appearance since August 25.
Toronto labored in the attack but still had their fair share of chances. In the 41st minute Eric Avila’s long-distance shot was easily stopped by Montreal ‘keeper Troy Perkins. A few minutes later fellow midfielder Aaron Maund was the target of a TFC set piece but his close-range header finished high.
Wenger was again dangerous to start the second half, connecting with a cross from right midfielder Collen Warner, but his sliding deflection finished wide. The enterprising forward fired off another shot in the 62nd minute in his final salvo before coming off nine minutes later.
Forward Eric Hassli, who was making his first start since September 15, was the most aggressive of the Toronto attackers. But his attempts as well as the those by midfielders Terry Dunfield (68th minute) and Reggie Lambe (51st minute) finished right at Perkins, who made seven saves for the shutout.
Montreal were coached by assistant Mike Sorber on the day with suspended manager Jesse Marsch watching from the stands.
Toronto closes out its 2012 MLS home schedule with a three wins, five draws and nine losses. They will hope to end the season on a good note when they travel to Mexico to face Santos Laguna in a must-win CONCACAF Champions League group match on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET). They close out their MLS regular season on Sunday, October 28 at Columbus.
28' Montreal – Davy Arnaud (caution)
39' Toronto – Terry Dunfield (caution)
73' Montreal – Hassoun Camara (caution)
87' Montreal – Sanna Nyassi (caution)
Toronto – Freddy Hall; Jeremy Hall, Richard Eckersley, Logan Emory (Adrian Cann 31’), Ashtone Morgan; Reggie Lambe, Terry Dunfield, Aaron Maund, Eric Avila; Luis Silva, Eric Hassli (Andrew Wiedeman 81’)
Substitutes not used: Milos Kocic, Doneil Henry, Dicoy Williams, Oscar Cordon, Nicholas Lindsay
Montreal – Troy Perkins; Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Jeb Brovsky (Dennis Iapichino 87’); Davy Arnaud, Collen Warner, Patrice Bernier, Calum Mallace (Justin Mapp 64’), Sanna Nyassi, Andrew Wenger (Lamar Neagle 71’), Marco Di Vaio
Substitutes not used: Evan Bush, Alessandro Nesta, Eduardo Sebrango, Shavar Thomas