CCL: TFC draw with Pumas, in good position to advance
TORONTO — Underhanded and overmatched, Toronto FC kept alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Champions League with a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Pumas UNAM at BMO Field on Tuesday night.
Peri Marosevic gave Toronto the lead late in the 35th minute before Pumas defender Marco Palacios headed home a goal early in the second half to give the visiting Mexican side a share of the points.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
The draw pushed Toronto level on points with FC Dallas for second place in Group C. Pumas move up into first place in the group with eight points, one more than TFC and Dallas.
Toronto and Pumas — who thumped the Reds 4-0 in Mexico City — each have one more match in group play, while Dallas have two to play, including Wednesday's match away to last-place side Tauro in Panama.
TFC were undermanned for the match, missing Torsten Frings, Terry Dunfield and Mikael Yourassowsky because of yellow-card accumulation. Eric Avila was not eligible because he was cup-tied, and Joao Plata is still out with a strained hamstring.
Aron Winter's makeshift lineup then was under pressure immediately. Pumas were unfortunate not to come away with a goal as early as the eighth minute when Michelle Castro forced Milos Kocic to make the first save of the match after Nick Soolsma’s giveaway. Then Diego de Buen rattled the left post with a rocket of a shot from 20 yards after dispossessing a TFC defender.
But it was Toronto who ended up with opening the scoring. In the 35th minute, Marosevic pounced on a drop-back pass from striker Danny Koevermans. The Dutchman knocked down a high ball, and Marosevic slotted home in the corner.
At halftime, Winter substituted defender Doneil Henry for Koevermans, as Toronto played five at the back to defend the one-goal lead.
That didn't stop Pumas, though. The tying goal came in the 51st minute when Palacios headed the ball home a cross from Erik Vera.
Pumas nearly hit a winner with 10 minutes to play, when a shot ricocheted off Andy Iro's head and beat Kocic. But it could not beat the right post.
Kocic didn't need the post two minutes into stoppage time, when he saved a free kick from Javier Cortés.
Toronto wrap up group play with a trip to FC Dallas on October 18. Pumas finish up at home to Tauro FC.
TOR 70- Peri MAROSEVIC 35’ (14- Danny KOEVERMANS)
PUM 3- Marco PALACIOS 51’ (64- Erik VERA)
Toronto FC (CAN): 30- Milos KOCIC; 5- Ashtone MORGAN, 3- Andy IRO, 20- Ty HARDEN, 27- Richard ECKERSLEY (26- Matthew GOLD 75’), 6- Julian de GUZMAN, 15- Matt STINSON, 18- Nicky SOOLSMA (33- Javier MARTINA 65’), 9- Ryan JOHNSON, 14- Danny KOEVERMANS (4- Doneil HENRY 45’), 70- Peri MAROSEVIC.
TD: Aron WINTER
SUBS: 24- Stefan FREI; 2- Demitrius OMPHROY, 4- Doneil HENRY, 11- Nathan STURGIS, 25- Danleigh BORMAN, 26- Matthew GOLD, 33- Javier MARTINA
Pumas UNAM (MEX): 13- David PATINO; 64- Erik VERA, 4- Dario VERON, 5- Diego DE BUEN, 62- Neftali TEJA, 3- Marco PALACIOS, 8- David CABRERA (7- Javier CORTES 45’), 11- David IZAZOLA, 15- Michelle CASTRO, 35- Eduardo HERRERA (10- Martin BRAVO 73’), 67- Kevin QUIÑONES (18- Emilio ORRANTIA 45’).
TD: Guillermo VAZQUEZ.
SUBS: 25- Alfredo SALDIVAR; 2- Efrain VELARDE, 7- Javier CORTES, 10- Martin BRAVO, 18- Emilio ORRANTIA, 24- Juan Carlos CACHO, 38- Juan Carlos RAMIREZ.
15- Matt STINSON 21’ (Yellow)
11- David IZAZOLA 77’ (Yellow)
5- Ashtone MORGAN 90+’ (Yellow)
Referee: Neal BRIZAN (TRI)
Assistant referees: Antonio LOPEZ (TRI), Javier SANTOS (PUR)
4th official: Patrick MICHNA (PUR)