Toronto, ON (Sports Network) – Toronto FC’s latest rebuilding project is still a work in progress, and Saturday’s setback might have ended the club’s playoff hopes in Major League Soccer.
Chris Wondolowski scored in the 87th minute as San Jose escaped BMO Field with a 1-1 tie against Toronto, which would have moved to within nine points of one the guaranteed playoffs berths in the Eastern Conference with a win.
Instead of a second straight victory, Toronto failed to make Eric Avila’s goal stand up, and the club settled for its third draw in its last five and sits 11 points off of a postseason berth.
San Jose saw its winless run reach 13 matches, but it has two more points than TFC and have played two fewer matches. Unlike Toronto, which is still alive in the East, San Jose is 17 points shy of a guaranteed spot in the West.
Even with recent signing Torsten Frings, a designated player, in the lineup at BMO, TFC (4-12-12) settled for its 12th draw of the season against a San Jose (5-10-11) side that has not won in MLS since early June.
Avila, acquired from FC Dallas this season when boss Aron Winter made a number of changes, scored just after the half-hour mark when he ran onto a fortunate bounce just outside the area and slotted inside the left post.
His goal was his first with Toronto and second of the season, and had TFC in a good position to earn three points for the second time in its last three games following a win over Real Salt Lake earlier this month.
Although Toronto has just one loss in its five, the late goal from Wondolowski left the Canadian club frustrated.
Joao Plata appeared to stake Toronto to a two-goal lead in the 75th, but after he slipped behind the defense on a Ryan Johnson through ball and slotted into the net, the goal was called back for a questionable offside.
Then with just a few minutes left in the match, Wondolowski met a headed pass from Bobby Burling to slot home his ninth goal of the season and earn San Jose a share of the points.
The Earthquakes had been shutout eight times in their previous 12 matches, and had just six goals during that stretch. But the tie at Toronto could help snap the slump.
San Jose hosts the Chicago Fire on Sept. 10 in its next match, one of three at home over its final eight matches. Toronto will try to rebound Sept. 10 at the Columbus Crew, who lead the East.