Nathan Sturgis

Reserves Suffer Heartbreak

Toronto – Toronto FC reserves had two points snatched away in stoppage time by Joseph Ngwenya's goal for D.C. United on Tuesday, with the East Division rivals drawing 1-1 at Downsview Park in North York.

The visitors were forced to start Ngwenya when U.S. international Charlie Davies was taken out of the lineup during warm-ups. D.C. did not immediately disclose Davies’ ailment, but one source said it wasn’t serious, while the American looked to be favouring his left leg.

[inline_node:7408]Meanwhile, Toronto’s attack was led by Demitrius Omphroy. The fullback turned striker had the first shot of the match nine minutes in, a clean strike from distance that was held by D.C. keeper Joe Willis.

The visitors did not play on the weekend and were able to start a handful of regulars, including Santino Quaranta, who tested Toronto FC Academy keeper Chad Bush with a 25-yard stinger. The Canadian U17 international parried the attempt, ranging to his right.

The match took a physical turn around the half hour mark, resulting in cautions handed out to D.C.’s Austin Da Luz and Marc Burch three minutes apart on mistimed tackles. During this period of activity Ngwenya beat Bush but was thwarted by the right post. On another foray D.C. had a goal called back due to offside.

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Toronto withstood United’s onslaught and created its own chances, one of which resulted in a penalty kick called in the Reds’ favour five minutes from time. TFC Academy forward Stefan Vukovic was brought down by Willis inside the D.C. area, setting up Nathan Sturgis for the spot kick.

The Toronto midfielder buried his shot to Willis’ right, giving TFC the 1-0 advantage at halftime.

In the second half, changes to the TFC lineup forced Omphroy to the middle of the attack while Nick Soolsma was introduced to provide width.  Matt Gold entered the match and was instrumental in breaking up D.C.’s buildup, allowing the Reds to counter through Oscar Cordon and another substitute, Michael Petrasso.

Around the hour mark Vukovic had two chances, the first of which was saved by Willis. On his second attempt, a sliding Vukovic watched the ball skip past his left boot by inches while he attacked the far post on a delicious cross from Omphroy.

D.C. had failed to create much in the second half, with service to Ngwenya falling flat in the Toronto third. Gold and Cordon complemented the back four to repeatedly disrupt United’s momentum.

Four minutes from fulltime Omphroy suffered a horrendously mistimed challenge from D.C.’s Brandon Barklage, who became the third United player to be booked.

Omphroy remained in the match with Toronto having run out of outfield players. Though virtually on one functioning leg, the California native sent Vukovic through on goal at the 90th minute after the pair had engineered a picturesque one-two pass. With Willis charging off his line, Vukovic had a glorious opportunity to seal the victory but was unable to connect.

Encouraged by this lifeline, D.C. countered quickly. Ngwenya found just enough space at the top of the Toronto 18-yard box to hit the leveler to Bush’s right, making it a 1-1 draw just as the clock ticked up to the second minute of stoppage time. The final whistle arrived 60 seconds later.

This match was initially scheduled to take place on April 17, but was postponed due to extreme weather conditions. In five games in the 10-match Reserve League, the Reds remain winless with a record of two draws and three losses in the East Division. D.C. reserves beat Toronto in the corresponding fixture 2-1 on August 7, with Vukovic striking for Toronto in Washington.

Scoring Summary

Toronto – Nathan Sturgis 41’ PK
D.C. – Joseph Ngwenya 90+2’


Toronto – Chad Bush; Doneil Henry (Tyler Pasher 78’), Eddy Viator, Dasan Robinson, Mikael Yourassowsky; Nathan Sturgis (Matt Gold 46’), Oscar Cordon, Leandre Griffit (Michael Petrasso 46’); Demitrius Omphroy, Stefan Vukovic, Zavarise (Nick Soolsma 54’)… Substitutes not used: Angelo Cavaluzzo

D.C. – Joe Willis; Marc Burch, Brandon McDonald (Ethan White 46’), Daniel Woolard (Devon McTavish 46’), Perry Kitchen (Conor Shanosky 78’); Austin Da Luz, Kurt Morsink, Stephen King, Santino Quaranta (Brandon Barklage 60’); Joseph Ngwenya, Blake Brettschneider … Substitutes not used: Charlie Davies

Misconduct Summary

D.C. – Da Luz 33’ (caution)
D.C. – Burch 36’ (caution)
D.C. – Barklage 86’ (caution)

Remaining Toronto FC Reserve League matches:

2 September  v. New England (Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA)
11 September v. Columbus (Crew Stadium, Columbus, OH)
1 October v. New York (TBD, Toronto, ON)
16 October v. Philadelphia (Union Training Fields, Philadelphia, PA)
TBD v. New York (TBD, New York/New Jersey)