TORONTO — When Toronto FC lost to Pumas UNAM in Mexico City on Sept. 14, they failed to click on a couple of early chances. After that, the much more clinical Mexican side went on to trounce Toronto, 4-0, with all the scoring coming in the first half on that night.
But on Tuesday, the Reds turned in a much more competitive performance, and it was a first-half chance of their own that helped them to a 1-1 draw in their CONCACAF Champions League Group C match.
Peri Marosevic, who was picked up from FC Dallas this season, put the chance away in the 35th minute, providing some real life to Toronto’s chances of advancing into knockout stages.
Marosevic was set up by striker Danny Koevermans, the former Dutch international, who had scored Toronto’s previous four goals in all competitions. This time, though, Koevermans played provider, connecting with Ryan Johnson to lay off the ball to Marosevic, who saw the gaping hole and calmly stroked the ball into the lower right corner.
“Ryan got a header on it and it fell to Koevermans' feet,” Marosevic said. “Behind those big guys, I have to be underneath them in case of second balls, in case balls drop down and that's exactly what happened. Koevermans saw me at the top of the box, laid it off and I saw a wide-open corner. All I had to do was pass it in."
Marosevic made it sound easy. But too often for TFC this year, there have been chances like that that have not resulted in goals.
“At that time you have to be composed, you have to be relaxed," he said. "Obviously, there are different options. You can blast it in. But I didn’t feel the necessity to do that. The goalie was too far into the near post and I saw it wide open, a wide-open lane. All I needed to do was stay relaxed and composed and put it in the back of the net.”
It doesn’t always happen that way, it was pointed out. Marosevic grinned.
“Against a team like Pumas, you’re not going to get a lot of opportunities, you’re not going to get a lot of shots," he said, "so when the opportunities come, you’d better take them. So I’m glad it worked out. I’m glad that one went in.”