BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
May 2, 2009 (WEEK 7) / MLS Game #46
4 p.m. ET (CBC; ONN)
Toronto FC and the Columbus Crew meet for the second time this season with the Trillium Cup on the line, with the clubs surprisingly at opposite ends of the Eastern Conference table. After a pair of home wins last week, TFC finds itself sitting atop the East. Meanwhile, the defending MLS Cup champion Crew are still searching for their first victory on the season. Toronto FC have never defeated the Crew in seven all-time meetings.
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Philippe Briere; 4th: Steven DePiero
MLS Career: 168 games; FC/gm: 26.4; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 48; pens: 34
INJURY REPORT: TORONTO FC - OUT: FW O'Brian White (knee); QUESTIONABLE: MF Dwayne De Rosario (hamstring) ... COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: FW Jason Garey (R ankle sprain); MF Cory Elenio (L hamstring strain); GK William Hesmer (L knee sprain); DF Andy Iro (L quad strain); MF Adam Moffat (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Frankie Hejduk (R hamstring tightness)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: CLB: Gino Padula (through May 3)
HEAD-TO-HEADALL-TIME (7 meetings): Toronto FC 0 wins, 5 goals ... Crew 3 wins, 10 goals ... Ties 4
AT TORONTO: (3 meetings): Toronto FC 0 wins, 2 goals ... Crew 1 win, 3 goals ... Ties 2
Toronto FC have never defeated the Columbus Crew in seven all-time meetings, after the teams played to a 1-1 draw this season, March 28 at Crew Stadium.,
After drawing in their first-ever meeting, the Crew won the next three meetings, before the teams played to draws in their final two encounters last season.
The teams are playing for the Trillium Cup, awarded by the supporters' groups of both clubs.
Coaches record: Chris Cummins vs. CLB: first game ... Robert Warzycha v TOR: P1 W0 L0 T1
LAST MEETING (MLS):
3/28: CLB 1, TOR 1 (Schelotto 30 pen - Padula 84 og)
The teams played to a 1-1 draw in their first Trillium Cup meeting this season, March 28 at Crew Stadium as the visiting Reds were buoyed by the support of nearly 2,000 traveling supporters.
The Crew took the lead in the 30th minute when Guillermo Barros Schelotto converted from the penalty spot for his second goal on the campaign, winning the penalty when his cross in the area was knocked down with a handball.
But Toronto FC used a bit of good fortune for the equalizer six minutes from the end. Dwayne De Rosario launched a free kick into the area that Gino Padula headed back toward his own goal, only to see the ball tipped onto the bar by goalkeeper William Hesmer then rebound back into the goal off the Crew shot-stopper.
Here's Warzycha's team (4-1-3-1-1): William Hesmer - Jed Zayner, Chad Marshall, Danny O'Rourke, Gino Padula - Brian Carroll - Eddie Gaven, Emmanuel Ekpo, Alex Grendi (Cory Elenio 73) - Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Steven Lenhart 76) - Jason Garey. Substitutes Not Used: Eric Brunner, Andy Gruenebaum, Andy Iro, Stanley Nyazamba, Robbie Rogers
Here's John Carver's team (4-3-1-2): Stefan Frei (Greg Sutton 46) - Marvell Wynne, Adrian Serioux, Marco Velez, Jim Brennan - Sam Cronin, Kevin Harmse, Rohan Ricketts (Johann Smith 62) - Dwayne De Rosario - Chad Barrett (Danny Dichio 68), Pablo Vitti. Substitutes Not Used: Brian Edwards, Gabe Gala, Emmanuel Gomez, Fuad Ibrahim
TORONTO FCToronto FC won 1-0 for the second time in four days and moved to the top of the Eastern Conference, claiming a victory against the Kansas City Wizards on Sunday afternoon at BMO Field. TFC now has 11 points from seven matches on the campaign, a point ahead of both the Chicago Fire and the Wizards.
Toronto FC had put an end to a four-game winless run at midweek as Amado Guevara scored the only goal of the game with a close-range finish in a 1-0 defeat of Chivas USA, the league's last unbeaten team. The Wizards also won 1-0 at midweek, extending their unbeaten run to four games against the New York Red Bulls after Claudio Lopez converted from the penalty spot in the third minute after Carlos Johnson was sent off for the second time in as many games.
Earlier in the week, Dwayne De Rosario had been ruled out for the next few weeks with a hamstring injury. Then the day before the match, John Carver unexpectedly resigned with immediate effect, handing the coaching reins to Chris Cummins and Nick Dasovic for the Kansas City match.
The game's lone goal came in the 54th minute. A cross from the left narrowly missed Danny Dichio as it sailed through the box, and Marvell Wynne chased it down on the opposite side. He played a square pass to Sam Cronin, who continued it on to Dichio at the corner of the six, and he hooked a shot home on the turn inside the far post for his first goal of the year.
In charge of the team after the Carver resignation, assistant Chris Cummins (the coach of record) made no changes to the team that defeated Chivas USA 1-0 at midweek.
Here's Cummins' team (4-2-1-3): Stefan Frei - Marvell Wynne, Adrian Serioux, Marco Velez, Jim Brennan - Carl Robinson, Sam Cronin - Amado Guevara (Kevin Harmse 79) - Pablo Vitti (Nana Attakora-Gyan 91+), Danny Dichio, Chad Barrett (Rohan Ricketts 83). Substitutes Not Used: Emmanuel Gomez, Fuad Ibrahim, Johann Smith, Greg Sutton
Even with all the potential distractions, the TFC players said they weren't affected and just went out to get another result.
"I don't think it was a distraction. I think it may egged us on a little bit," said forward Danny Dichio. "We wanted to show we have a great team spirit here and no matter what happens with the [coaching] staff or any of that ... we have to go out and show the fans that we're strong as a unit."
It was a second game with Danny Dichio as the targetman, with Pablo Vitti and Chad Barrett playing off of him in a three-pronged attack. While TFC has scored just two goals in two games with the system, two victories have come with them.
"You've got me the hard worker, Danny the bulldog who just runs at everything and Pablo the skillful Argentine," Barrett said. "So we've got all three things working. Everybody worked hard today, we created a lot of really good chances. We've just got to make it so that it's not so entertaining at the end."
Still, Cummins was not concerned that the team was able to convert just one of its chances.
"Good players can play in any system, any formation you put them in. It does take a bit of time to gel so it's not like we've just thrown them in there," Cummins said. "The lads have been together now a full preseason, the last seven games and it takes a bit of time to gel. The lads' fitness levels need to be up and they look like they've been playing together for ages. I thought the chances we created were first-class. I get worried when we don't create chances. We can always improve on the finishing."
Stefan Frei made three of his five saves on the afternoon in the final four minutes of regulation time, but still held on for his second consecutive clean sheet. He has a 184-minute shutout streak entering the Crew match, and will set the club record for consecutive minutes without conceding a goal with another clean sheet on Saturday.
On Wednesday, Cummins was confirmed as the interim head coach, with Nick Dasovic becoming the first assistant coach. "Chris has done a wonderful job on the sideline," TFC manager and director of soccer Mo Johnston said. "I think the staff has assisted perfectly in conjunction with Chris. When you break it all down, within the locker room, the respect factor, it was an easy decision."
COLUMBUS CREWThe Columbus Crew were five minutes away from their first victory of the season - until the Chicago Fire scored twice in three minutes and the teams were left in a 2-2 draw Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew now have two losses and four draws for the year, their four points leaving them at the foot of the Eastern Conference, seven points behind Toronto FC.
The Crew were back in action after an off week, still looking for a first win on the season. The Fire were still undefeated and atop the Eastern Conference, but had seen the Kansas City Wizards come back with two late goals for a 2-2 draw the weekend before.
The Crew took a two-goal lead by halftime, with a pair of goals nine minutes apart. In the 25th minute, Guillermo Barros Schelotto put in a soaring freekick from midfield, and Chad Marshall rose up to head it home for his first goal. For Schelotto, the league leader in assists last season, it was his first assist.
Then in the 34th minute, Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch came out to try and play a long ball bouncing just outside the area. But Alejandro Moreno nicked it away as Busch could not grab it, racing across the goal line and avoiding a sliding Wilman Conde before slipping into an empty goal.
Yet just as they had seen the Wizards do the week before, the Fire came back, after the Crew's Gino Padula was sent off in the 57th minute for a foul on Chicago's Cuauhtemoc Blanco. In the 86th minute, Patrick Nyarko was sent through in the left side of the area and served a pinpoint cross to the back post for Brian McBride to head home, his fifth goal on the season.
Then the equalizer came two minutes later. Chris Rolfe played a neat backheel to Tim Ward, who slid it to Gonzalo Segares in the restraining arc, and the Costa Rican international lashed home a low drive inside the left post.
Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made one change to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids the week before. Chad Marshall was again fit for duty, with Danny O'Rourke moving to right back and Jed Zayner returning to the substitutes' bench.
Here's Warzycha's team (4-1-3-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Danny O'Rourke, Eric Brunner, Chad Marshall, Gino Padula - Brian Carroll - Eddie Gaven, Adam Moffat (Jed Zayner 42), Emmanuel Ekpo (Robbie Rogers 66) - Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Steven Lenhart 92+) - Alejandro Moreno. Substitutes Not Used: Ben Dragavon, Alex Grendi, Pat Noonan, Duncan Oughton
"We played very well. We were in control of the game until we got the red card. Even when we had 10 players we did exceptionally well. They didn't have any chances until the end when they were pushing and pushing," Warzycha said. "It's always difficult to defend being down for 35 minutes. That was the key today."
With just two draws and two points through the opening six games, it's now the worst start in team history the Crew and the worst start in MLS history for a defending champion.
"I know it didn't happen like this last year," midfielder Eddie Gaven said after the Chicago match. "Last year we would have won a game like this. We have to keep working hard and hopefully the bounces will start going our way. We have to keep on fighting. That's what this team did last year and that's what we've got to keep doing this year."
It was the third time in three home games the Crew had conceded the equalizing goal in the final 10 minutes of the game. It was also the club's second red card this season.
"We've been playing well pretty much every game at home this year but the bounces haven't fallen our way," Gaven said. "It was tough when Gino got that red card. I felt like we were playing pretty well. After that they took the game to us. It was one of those things. We kept dropping, dropping, dropping and they were able to get two goals."
Central midfielder Adam Moffat, who appeared in just his second game since May of last season after knee surgery, could be out a few weeks with a hamstring injury suffered against the Fire. As well, the status of right back Frankie Hejduk (right hamstring) is unknown for Saturday.
Danny O'Rourke will likely start again at right back with Frankie Hejduk expected to miss yet another week with his hamstring strain, though he could also move into central defense, or even into the center of midfield. He played two of those positions - as well as left back - over the course of the Chicago match.
"Frankie's out so we had to put some different guys at right back," said O'Rourke. "Moffat went out and I was so I was back in midfield and I enjoyed it for awhile. Everyone knows it wasn't a red card but I went to left back for Gino." Said Warzycha: "He was playing three positions but it wasn't my choice. The referee helped him a lot."
As well, Andy Gruenebaum is expected to make his second straight start in goal for William Hesmer, who is still suffering from a strained left knee.