The winning streak is over, but the unbeaten string remains intact.
Toronto FC earned a 1-1 tie with the New York Red Bulls at home on a cold and rainy Thursday night to run their record unbeaten streak to four games (three wins and a tie).
With the draw, Toronto improved to 3-2-1 on the season and moved into a four-way tie for second place in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference with 10 points.
The Canadian club entered Thursday's game riding a three-game winning streak, its longest since joining the league in 2007, after opening the season with two consecutive losses.
"I'm disappointed, and the fact that I'm disappointed tells me how far we've come," Toronto coach John Carver said.
Carver said it was a good sign of his club's progression that New York, who normally plays with three defenders, switched to a four-man defence to combat the dangerous Toronto attack.
"I think they showed us some respect by changing their formation. All in all I'm disappointed we didn't win the game, but I'll take the point," Carver said.
Toronto might feel hard done by not getting a victory, but the team can take solace in the fact that it kept one of the league's most lethal scoring combinations, New York forwards Juan Pablo Angel and Jozy Altidore, off the scoreboard.
Likewise, New York's defence did a good job of containing Honduran forward Amado Guevara, who was coming off a two-goal performance in Toronto's 2-0 win over the Kansas City Wizards last weekend.
New York threatened to score early off a pair of corner kicks, but it was Toronto that broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute thanks to a heads-up play by French midfielder Laurent Robert.
After Toronto captain Jim Brennan was fouled just outside the penalty area, Robert, demonstrating equal parts guile and precision, quickly took the ensuing free kick before New York had a chance to set up, and delivered a perfect high ball into the box to a wide open Marco Velez, who ghosted past the Red Bulls defenders and headed the ball home.
"I made eye contact with Laurent and he took a quick free kick and he found me inside the box," said Velez in explaining how the goal came about.
It was the first goal of the season for Velez, who came under much criticism at the start of the campaign for his slack defending skills.
No extra pressure
But the Puerto Rican defender insisted he took no extra pleasure in scoring that goal — silencing his critics is not foremost on his mind, winning is.
"I just want the team to win and as long as we win, it doesn't matter how we do it," Velez said.
New York used a little free-kick magic of its own in the 39th minute to tie the game. Midfielder Dave van den Bergh bent a free kick from 20 yards out through Toronto's wobbly defensive wall and just inside the far post to silence the home fans.
Prior to van den Bergh's strike, Toronto's defence had not been breached since the second half of its 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on April 13. It was also the first goal conceded by Toronto at home this season in three games.
New York substituted captain Claudio Reyna (left leg injury) at the start of the second half, which began with a steady drizzle of rain pouring down.
Dichio comes close
Toronto forward Danny Dichio nearly scored on a header off a free kick in the opening minute of the half. Tensions boiled over moments later when a frustrated Robert, the recipient of a rough challenge from Altidore, earned a yellow card for shoving New York defender Hunter Freeman to the ground.
Proceedings were halted with eight minutes left in regulation when a fan jumped onto the field and ran directly to the centre circle where he was escorted off by security.
That was the last major incident, as neither club could break through with a goal in the waning minutes.
Toronto hosts the Columbus Crew on May 17 (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 3:30 p.m. ET) before wrapping up its five-game homestand against D.C. United on May 21.