Toronto FC 0 – 0 Montreal Impact
A rather listless affair between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon marked the Reds last home match of 2012. While not expected at this point, the scoreless draw between two clubs that did not really play like rivals on this day ultimately extended TFC’s winless streak to thirteen games. While Toronto Head Coach Paul Mariner was looking dapper on the side line, his players did not look as good as they delivered another match in which his injury bitten and undermanned squad showed their general lack of experience, as well as another instance of an offense without many weapons to its credit.
The usual names excelled in this match, as Terry Dunfield as always gave it his all while putting in a spirited performance and Richard Eckersley was again a stalwart on the back line. While looking less than match fit in his return to the starting eleven, striker Eric Hassli brought moments of astonishing skill and plenty of hints as to what he should be capable of next year with an improved supporting cast.
The key to the ratings, as seems to be the logic on a scale of 1-10, is not to view it as a “grade”, as in a 6 would be a 60 or a C. The formula is that each player begins the game with a 5 and is the equilibrium from which their performance either improves or degrades moving in increments of .5.
Here is the breakdown of the starting XI:
Freddy Hall – 5.5
A solid game overall for the TFC backup keeper, who did not have a whole lot to do, but who showed sure hands and made the saves he needed to when Montreal was pushing forward with intent in the latter part of the game.
Jeremy Hall – 5
In a season in which Hall has often stood out the most for his struggles and miscues defending as a fullback, the former FC Dallas player did not stand out very much in this game. He had a couple of decent moments in a perfunctory afternoon on the pitch.
MOTM Richard Eckersley – 6.5
Another match in which Richard Eckersley was the difference between an embarrassing loss and just a loss or a draw. The quick central defender made a particular clear difference with his gritty and decisive defensive play early on in the game when Montreal looked destined to get out to an early lead.
Logan Emory/Adrian Cann – 5
A decent enough game from Emory before he had to be subbed out with an injury. He had a nice recovery tackle on Andrew Wenger in the first half and generally used his size and physical attributes to his advantage. However, given how much his distribution still needs work, it’s also clear he is a player who is still a work in progress. Adrian Cann delivered a solid workmanlike effort after coming on just before the half-time break.
Ashtone Morgan – 5
Overall, a solid if unspectacular game from the second year left fullback. Morgan did not have as much of an effect on the offensive side of things as he usually does and he looked like he was still struggling a bit with the cold/flu that saw him miss Toronto’s last match. Most promisingly, Morgan delivered a few excellent defensive plays when Montreal looked to be in a decent position to find a goal.
Reggie Lambe – 5
A feast or famine type of afternoon from the Bermuda International. At times, Lambe looked like just the type of skilled and creative player that Toronto needed if they were to have found a breakthrough goal in their final match of 2012 at home. At other times, he held onto the ball too long and looked like the second coming of Rohan Ricketts.
Aaron Maund – 5
While he didn’t set the pitch on fire as the second coming of Torsten Frings, this was actually one of the better games we have seen from young Aaron Maund in his run as TFC’s starting holding midfielder. He was solid defensively, positionally sound and was good in distribution.
Terry Dunfield – 5.5
One of the few players on either team who genuinely looked up for this match. Overall, this was a pretty consistent Terry Dunfield type of performance in which he brought fight, energy and got stuck in on several occasions. After not playing in Canada’s two World Cup qualifying matches during the International break, the Vancouver native looked like he had been released from a cage and was excited to be on the pitch, which is something you would have hoped would have been the case for all the Toronto players in their final match at home.
Eric Avila – 5.5
Tell me again, where has this guy been? While there has been plenty of silly criticism of Paul Mariner’s attire during games over the last several weeks, a more legitimate criticism of the TFC skipper should be directed at the manner in which he has underused Avila during a 13 game winless streak in which Toronto’s lack of offensive talent has often been glaring. The midfielder was one of Toronto’s better two way players against Montreal.
Luis Silva – 4.5
A tough day at the office for the rookie attacking midfielder. While he showed a couple of flashes of the vision and attacking flair that clearly makes him one of the players Toronto will look to build around next season, Silva was generally ineffective in this game and looked like a young player who has been worn down by the intrinsic nature of the MLS grind.
Eric Hassli – 6
Another match that suggested the potential that Hassli has for TFC next season if he can stay match fit and if he can be surrounded by the right supporting players. He was clearly less than 100% match fit against Montreal but that did not stop the Big Frenchman from being Toronto’s far and away best offensive player in this game. As is par for the course now, there were moments here and there where it was easy to be amazed at the touch and ability that the former Whitecaps has for a big man.