Under the circumstances, Toronto FC earned a very positive result in Mexico City Wednesday night tying Cruz Azul 0-0 in a crucial CONCACAF Champions League game.
Facing the altitude, smog and humidity of the capital city, it was never going to be an easy game for TFC. But the collective resolve and concentration to defend well as a team was in the end the key to getting the result.
With the two remaining games at home there is now an opportunity for Toronto FC to qualify from the group stages and into the quarter-finals. It would be a remarkable achievement if accomplished.
TFC Head Coach Nick Dasovic got his approach and tactics right and as a former national team player he would have been very aware of the obstacles of playing in such an awkward environment. Dropping off as a unit and defending deep was the order of the day.
Cruz Azul had a few half chances but they never really looked like breaking down or penetrating a TFC back line who were excellent. For all the criticism Nick Garcia has received over the past two years he was very good for 80 minutes before wilting a little towards the end. Nevertheless, as a right full back it was probably his best performance for the club.
Meanwhile, Adrian Cann and Ty Harden were again terrific at the centre back positions and Dwayne DeRosario added some important composure and a silky touch on the ball when he came into the game.
Attacking wise, there was no difference in how Toronto played from the previous era but playing in Mexico City is not one of the easier places to begin branding a new attacking style. Altitude without the preparation is very difficult.
Irony or not, the defensive approach from the previous regime was very evident on the night. But now with Dasovic as the new coach it appears the TFC players are willing to play and fight for him.
And when you have that there is always some hope.