TFC’s Champions League hopes in doubt after draw

Peri Marosevic (Peri-Marosevic)

The fate of Toronto FC is now in the hands of its opponents.

After a 1-1 draw with Pumas UNAM Tuesday night at BMO Field, the Reds now need Dallas FC to lose to Tauro FC on Wednesday if they hope to make the Champions League quarter-finals.

Toronto was without captain Torsten Frings, and Pumas head coach Guillermo Vazquez decided to rest some of his top players in anticipation of a league rivalry match against Club America next week.

Despite going with a younger, more inexperienced lineup, Pumas came out flying. The best chance in the early part of the game came on a hot shot from the corner by midfielder Diego De Buen, created by some creative midfield passing. But TFC’s young goaltender Milos Kocic was up to the task.

The Reds shot back not long after, manufacturing an opportunity from just outside the box. A throw-in from the right side was redirected into the middle, but a harmless attempt by Peri Marosevic was easily handled by the Pumas netminder.

Pumas, however, continued the back and forth battle with formidable work in the offensive field. Midfielder Michelle Castro ripped a volley off the post, saving TFC from an early deficit.

Toronto matched the Group-C leaders chance-for-chance and in the 35th minute took a 1-0 lead.

Julian De Guzman sent the ball into the box off a free kick that was deflected off the head of Ryan Johnson and onto the foot of Danny Koevermans, who immediately sent a pass to Marosevic. The Bosnian forward made no mistake giving TFC the advantage that lasted through the rest of first half.

Pumas didn’t take long coming out of the tunnel to draw even. With enormous pressure on TFC, Pumas defender Juan Palacios tied the game in the 51st minute with a direct header from a corner kick just off the hands of Kocic.

Clearly, taking out Koevermans to lean on a more defensive style of play didn’t work in favour of Toronto.