Reggie Lambe spent most of Saturday night delivering pinpoint passes to his Toronto FC teammates, only to see those efforts squandered.
But the Reds finally broke through in the 60th minute as Bobby Convey scored on a pass from Lambe, earning TFC a 1-1 draw with D.C. United at RFK Stadium in a battle between the two worst teams in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference.
After working his way deep into United territory, Lambe found Convey wide open in the box for an easy tally. It was the midfielder's first assist of the season, and Convey's first goal.
"Right before that, Bobby had said, 'Let's switch wings for a bit,"' Lambe said. "I got the ball, drove forward and just saw him at the edge of the box. He finished brilliantly."
For Convey, who played five seasons with United from 2000-04, the homecoming goal was a sweet one.
"It's good to come back and score here," he said. "I thought Reggie played well the whole game. On (the goal), he looked up and played a good ball to me, and I was able to finish it."
TFC (4-12-9) couldn't finish off D.C. despite a couple of good looks in the late stages of the second half.
"These guys have to learn how to get results away from home," Toronto coach Ryan Nelsen said. "I'm disappointed we didn't take all three points tonight, because I thought we deserved it."
Keeper Joseph Bendik was called on for seven saves, including a rocket off the foot of former Red Luis Silva in the 67th minute.
"I was just kind of telling myself to get there and get in a good spot," Bendik said. "I had just enough time to react to it. Then I saw it was Luis and I gave him a big smile."
The teams entered the game among the bottom three in MLS in goals scored, so it figured offence would be at a premium.
D.C. struck first as Dwayne De Rosario continued to torment his former employers. He worked through space and a hobbled Jonathan Osorio — who would leave the match with an ankle injury — to fire a blast past a diving Bendik in the 10th minute, giving United (3-17-5) a 1-0 advantage.
"It took a world-class goal for them to score," Nelsen said. "I don't mind conceding world-class goals like that."
De Rosario now has seven goals in four matches between the teams at RFK Stadium since he left Toronto early in the 2011 season, but Saturday's strike was just his third of the season.
"I finally feel a little strength in my leg after two months of pretty much being out, not being able to strike the ball so my leg feels good, knock on wood," De Rosario said. "I like hitting the ball from that area."
In a first half in which TFC was outshot 10-3, Lambe helped give his team its best opportunities, twice setting up Andrew Wiedeman for potential equalizers. But Wiedeman's shot in the 28th minute went just wide and his header in the 33rd minute drifted over the bar.
At the break, Nelsen left the motivational speeches to his players, who responded with a solid second-half effort.
"It's always something said in the locker room to pump up the players — from the captain to the youngest player on the team," Lambe said. "We're all pushing each other. We came back and were glad to get a point."