They platooned several key starters, set up in a defensive shape and were thoroughly dominated statistically and in the general run of play. But none of that kept D.C. United from sweating out a hard-earned road point at Toronto FC on Wednesday evening.
Despite holding more than 70 percent of possession, completing north of 700 passes and forcing Bill Hamid into 12 saves, TFC's attack simply could not find the final touch and were left disappointed in a 0-0 draw at BMO Field that leaves the Reds with a mere one point out of a possible nine in their past three home matches.
Playing the second game in a hectic week of three matches in seven days ranging from D.C. to Ontario to Houston, the visitors kept Wayne Rooney, Luciano Acosta and Paul Arriola on the bench until the second half, with coach Ben Olsen opting for the 3-5-2 formation that's become a regular Plan B for United of late.
And it worked, despite long stretches of reactive play and nerve-jangling defending in their own penalty box. Toronto, for their part, yet again badly missed the skillset of Jozy Altidore, who missed this one due to a heel injury.
THE BIG PICTURE
: This game was a throwback in some ways; D.C. reverted to the stubborn spirit of their old "Bennyball" days, while TFC bossed the pace and tempo just like they did in their 2017 treble campaign... but absent the cutting edge of the Altidore-Sebastian Giovinco frontline, they walked away disappointed.