Michael Bradley could only watch thanks to yellow card accumulation, Jermain Defoe was out injured and Gilberto headed a potential point-blank winner wide as Toronto FC’s playoff hopes died in the wind at BMO Field.
The cold gusts will be nothing compared to the bitter feelings pouring forth from TFC fans towards their team after a season of high hopes ended without a single playoff game.
And for it to happen at the hands of their bitter rival Montreal? Oh boy.
The Impact held Toronto FC to a physical, gritty and dirty 1-1 draw on Saturday at BMO, and even Dominic Oduro’s dive to give the Reds 10 minutes against 10 men couldn’t give them the advantage they needed.
There were loads of yellow cards, little sportsmanship and a total of three red cards as the game finished 10v9 to Toronto but even on the scoreboard.
It was a game of moments that typified the fine line between fairy tale and failure, as Dwayne De Rosario nearly provided the winner three minutes from time with a brilliant little move, but sent a rocket over the bar.
Even if TFC had won, they’d still have needed another win while Columbus would have to lose both its matches.
This was supposed to be a title-winning powerhouse that rivaled teams for the Supporters Shield. Instead it may have been the biggest single-season disappointment in Major League Soccer history.
Plenty went wrong this year. Captain and stalwart defender Steven Caldwell was injured. Julio Cesar was recalled to QPR once his loan was over. Bradley was gone for the World Cup and Defoe battled injuries all season before causing some tumult in the transfer window.
Toronto has recorded the most points in its history (41) with a match to go, but it’ll console precious few Red Patch Boys. General manager Tim Bezbatchenko’s and new coach Greg Vanney have a heck of a job this offseason to change a culture Bezbatchenko thought he already had fixed. Instead, it’s another day to hang heads at MLSE HQ.