and in each case, their goalkeepers had other means to thank for keeping the game scoreless. In the first half, Crew winger Robbie Rogers was able to carve out space on the left side of the area and get wide of TFC 'keeper Greg Sutton, but defender Tyrone Marshall was perfectly placed to clear the ball off the line.
After the break, both teams opened up a bit more and the home side went closest in the 60th minute through Laurent Robert. His shot from the top of the box beat Crew 'keeper William Hesmer, but not the left-hand post.
For the fourth consecutive match, TFC head coach John Carver maintained the same starting XI.
Here's Carver's team (4-2-3-1): Greg Sutton - Marvell Wynne, Marco Velez, Tyrone Marshall, Jim Brennan - Maurice Edu (Kevin Harmse 83), Carl Robinson - Rohan Ricketts (Jarrod Smith 87), Amado Guevara, Laurent Robert - Danny Dichio (Jeff Cunningham 63). Substitutes Not Used: Todd Dunivant, Brian Edwards, Julius James, Olivier Tebily
"We still had our opportunities; I thought we took the game to them. I mean again, you know they've come here with a game plan, made it very difficult for us, but we still had opportunities and you've got to put the ball in the back of the net," Carver said. "But the pleasing thing is they're (players) all sitting in there very, very disappointed.
TFC felt the Crew largely sat back and soaked up the pressure - that from a team that entered the match tied for most goals scored in MLS. Midfielder Carl Robinson said it was a credit to Toronto.
"You take it as a positive ... they play the way they want to play against us. But what we've got to do is when teams do that we've got to make sure that we put it to bed and we win the game and at the moment we just have that little bit missing at the moment where we can actually finish it off," Robinson said. "They made tactical changes today and they came out on top, they took the points, we wanted to win ... their game plan was likely to contain us and they did that. We were a little frustrated in the end."
The draw extended Toronto FC's unbeaten streak at BMO Field to six matches, dating back to 2007. The last visiting team to win in Toronto was, in fact, the Crew, on Sept. 22 of last year.
"I think the boys are a bit disappointed in the change room and that kind of shows you where we've come this year. For us to be disappointed, we've got to give ourselves a little pat on the back they're a team that's come into this game today winning six out of their last seven games so, we've got to take it in -- we just didn't have that final piece of the jigsaw today and couldn't put it in the net," said Danny Dichio.
Dichio, who entered the game bothered by a slight groin injury, stayed in for 63 minutes in spite of the injury since Carver felt the 6-foot-3 Dichio was a better match against 6-4 Columbus defender Ezra Hendrickson than the 5-6 Jeff Cunningham. Cunningham did come on as a substitute for Dichio in the 63rd minute and fared slightly better, especially once Hendrickson himself left the game in the 82nd minute.
Still, Carver said he is still looking for improvement from his front-runners.
I've been banging this drum from the start of the season. We need to improve in certain areas and I still haven't stopped looking. As you all know I was home for a week and I did a lot of work to try and find somebody in that area. The guys who are doing the job for us at the moment are doing a good job but we need better and I think we all know that. It's going to take time. I have stopped working on it and neither has Mo (Johnston)"
Midfielder Maurice Edu left the game in the 83rd minute. Carver said the injury was nothing more than "a dead leg," an aggravation of a minor injury the midfielder had suffered at practice. "Edu got a bad leg in training, and had another whack on it," Carver said. "Obviously [once] you've got a dead leg and you take another knock, you don't take any risks."
The Reds kept a clean sheet for the third time in four games, all after conceding eight goals in their first three - including the four goals to D.C. United in their first meeting.
"In the first half we really took it to them," Marvell Wynne said. "We had a lot of possession, we had a lot of chances. It's unfortunate we didn't capitalize and we ended up not getting the full three points which I believe we deserved." Said TFC defender Tyrone Marshall: "Obviously you can tell we were a little off today (after a 16-day layoff). We weren't as sharp as we should be in front of the goal, but overall I thought we did well. The boys were disappointed because we gave up two points today."
D.C. United lost for the first time ever to Chivas USA, as Chivas came from behind for the first time in club history to record a victory, scoring three late goals in a 10-minute span for a 3-1 victory on Saturday night at The Home Depot Center. United have now lost three games on the trot and sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with six points from eight matches, five behind Toronto FC and the Kansas City Wizards, tied for fifth place.
Chivas USA came into the game looking to snap a five-game winless run, with losses in four, while D.C. United had lost two games in a row and four of their last five.
A stroke of brilliance put United ahead on the half hour. Marcelo Gallardo took a pass outside the area straight out from goal, made a quick move to his left to create space and hooked a masterful shot high into the upper corner past Brad Guzan, United's first goal in 220 minutes.
But Chivas fought back in the second half and tied the game in the 73rd minute. D.C. 'keeper Zach Wells came sliding off his line to take the ball off the foot of Atiba Harris racing toward goal, but the rebound fell to Jesse Marsch and he knocked it home.
Then three minutes later Chivas took the lead. Harris raced down the right flank to collect a loose ball and cut into the area before slotting a square pass to Sacha Kljestan who stroked it past Wells.
In the 82nd minute, the Chivas comeback was complete. Kljestan sprung Harris clear with a long ball over the top, and after the St. Kitts and Nevis international corraled the ball in the area, he laid it off for Jorge Flores and the winner of the Sueno MLS 2007 competition ripped it into the back of the net for his first MLS goal.
United head coach Tom Soehn made four changes to the team that lost 2-0 to the Chicago Fire nine days earlier. Domenic Mediate, Ryan Cordeiro, Francis Doe and Marcelo Gallardo all came into the team, with Gonzalo Peralta unavailable and Rod Dyachenko, Luciano Emilio and Franco Niell all going to the substitutes' bench.
Here's Soehn's team (4-3-1-2): Zach Wells - Bryan Namoff, Domenic Mediate, Gonzalo Martinez, Marc Burch (Franco Niell 77) - Santino Quaranta, Clyde Simms, Ryan Cordeiro - Marcelo Gallardo (Rod Dyachenko 74) - Francis Doe (Luciano Emilio 58), Jaime Moreno. Substitutes Not Used: Jose Carvallo, Quavas Kirk, Dan Stratford, Mike Zaher
"I think we came out in the second half and we weren't good enough with the ball, so that was disappointing. We gave away the ball too much and then we gave them a lot of confidence to put pressure on us," Soehn said. "But the first half I thought we had a game plan and we stuck to it, we were hard to play against, we got our goal. In the second half they came out with a bit more intensity and I don't think we handled it well."
Soehn had to make numerous changes to his lineup. Center back Gonzalo Peralta was not available at all, remaining back home in northern Virginia with his pregnant wife, who is on bed rest. His availability is still in question for the Toronto match.
Soehn installed Domenic Mediate into central defense. Ostensibly a midfielder at the start of his career, Mediate had not made an appearance since he started at left back in the third week of the season, in the loss at Real Salt Lake.
In addition, Ryan Cordeiro made his MLS debut on the left side of midfield. Cordeiro had gained the coaching staff's attention with his performances for the United reserves.
"We're both going through difficult times with injuries," said Soehn. "We just didn't do a good enough job over 90 minutes."
United have now lost all four of their away league matches, outscored by a total of 11-1. Only Real Salt Lake has a road record that is close, also 0-4 in their four away games, outscored 10-2.
"It's very emotionally draining," said Soehn. "We put a lot of work into making sure we were doing the things that we've talked about all week (like) being harder to play against, and then we threw caution to the wind ... and they punished us." Added captain Jaime Moreno: "It's sad that we work so hard for 65 minutes then we gave everything away. We put a lot of effort in; after that, the game changed 180 degrees."
The match completely changed in the 73rd minute when Jesse Marsch knocked in a loose rebound that bounced off goalkeeper Zach Wells inside the penalty area. Marsch had started the game as a center back - the first time, said the one-time United man, he had played there since he was 13 years old.
"He had to come up with a couple of key saves for us, especially on games on the road that are going to be tight," said Soehn of his goalkeeper.
United now faces recording their longest single-season losing streak since dropping five in a row May 12-June 9, 2001 (United did lose six games in a row over two seasons, the final three games of the 2006 campaign and the first three last year). Soehn indicated more changes could be coming.
"We're going to evaluate everything," said Soehn. "Right now it's not good enough. So if it means changes, we'll make changes. We have to rededicate ourselves ... winning and losing is a habit and when you get into a habit of losing, you almost expect it to come and we have to change that."