TORONTO – Sporting Kansas City are ready to say goodbye to the road.
Playing the final game of an exhausting 10-game road swing to open the season, Sporting came away with a well-earned point against Toronto FC in a scoreless draw played before 19,962 at BMO Field on Saturday.
Next up for Sporting (1-6-3) is their home debut at the new $200-million LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, which will open June 9 when the Chicago Fire come to town.
Toronto FC (2-5-7), meanwhile, saw their winless streak extended to five games in their league-high ninth home game this season. It wasn’t hard for TFC to improve on their previous home game, a bad 6-2 loss to Philadelphia last weekend, and at least they did that.
After both sides played a cautious first half, the game began to open up roughly an hour in. Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei saved a 64th-minute shot from outside the box by Teal Bunbury that was aimed at the lower right corner, and three minutes later, Toronto’s Maicon Santos forced a save from Sporting ‘keeper Eric Kronberg with a shot at the upper left corner.
That promise of better things to come never materialized, however, even when TFC late-match substitute Doneil Henry forced a save in added time with a dangerous header and the best scoring threat of the game for either team.
If TFC wanted to avoid giving up early goals as they did last week in the 6-2 loss to Philadelphia, they succeeded. They had slightly more possession for the first half hour, but the closest they came was on Joao Plata’s shot just wide to the left in the 28th minute. It was one of two shots at goal by Toronto, with Tony Tchani taking the other and that did not require a save, either.
Sporting failed to force Frei into action either, with Craig Rocastle taking its only shot in the first half.
Nana Attakora started for Toronto to take the place of center back Adrian Cann who suffered a season-ending knee injury during training on Tuesday.
Both teams were without players who were called up to national teams. Toronto’s Julian de Guzman (Canada) and Dicoy Williams (Jamaica) are playing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup as are Kansas City’s Roger Espinoza (Honduras), Stéphane Auvray (Guadeloupe) and Shavar Thomas (Jamaica). Kei Kamara was called up by Sierra Leone for a game against Niger.
Alan Gordon (groin) and Jacob Peterson (hamstring) did not play for TFC.
KC -- Omar Bravo (caution; Reckless Foul) 39
KC -- Graham Zusi (caution; Reckless Foul) 47+
KC -- Aurelien Collin (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 68
TOR -- Tony Tchani (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 68
TOR -- Richard Eckersley (caution; Reckless Tackle) 69
Sporting KC -- Eric Kronberg, Michael Harrington, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Chance Myers, Ryan Smith, Davy Arnaud, Graham Zusi (Birahim Diop 85), Craig Rocastle (Luke Sassano 60), Omar Bravo, Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 88).
Substitutes Not Used: Korede Aiyegbusi, Julio Cesar, Milos Stojcev, Jon Kempin.
Toronto FC -- Stefan Frei, Richard Eckersley (Dan Gargan 76), Ty Harden, Nana Attakora (Doneil Henry 89), Danleigh Borman, Tony Tchani, Nathan Sturgis, Mikael Yourassowsky, Javier Martina, Maicon Santos, Joao Plata (Nick Soolsma 67).
Substitutes Not Used: Oscar Cordon, Matt Gold, Keith Makubuya, Milos Kocic.
Referee: Yader Reyes
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland; Peter Balciunas
4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Cloudy and 57 degrees