Match Preview: Toronto FC vs. DC United

Toronto FC play their second home game this week, playing host to D.C. United in a vital Eastern Conference match for both clubs. TFC extended their undefeated run to four games at midweek, with yet another scoreless draw against the LA Galaxy. United played the Galaxy at home last weekend, getting a late penalty for a 1-1 draw of their own.

REFEREE: Mark Kadlecik. SAR (bench): Rob Fereday; JAR (opposite): Anthony Vasoli; 4th: Geoff Gamble MLS Career: First game.

INJURY REPORT: TORONTO FC – OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); PROBABLE: FW Alan Gordon (adductor tightness); FW Alen Stevanovic (adductor tightness) ... D.C. UNITED – OUT: MF Junior Carreiro (R ankle sprain); GK Steve Cronin (L wrist fracture); DF Devon McTavish (concussion); DF Jed Zayner (L hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: DC: Santino Quaranta (through April 17)

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Toronto FC 3 wins, 14 goals ... United 6 wins, 20 goals ... Ties 1
AT BMO FIELD (5 meetings): Toronto FC 2 wins, 4 goals ... United 3 wins, 4 goals ... Ties 0
RETURN MATCH: 8/6: D.C. United vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. (TSN)
LAST YEAR (MLS): 9/11: TOR 0, DC 1 (James 81) 10/23: DC 2, TOR 3 (Quaranta 2; Moreno 39 – Santos 23; De Rosario 48, 65)

  • D.C. United won on their first two trips to BMO Field, both in Toronto FC’s inaugural season of 2007, then did not win again on the shores of Lake Ontario until a 1-0 win last September.
  • United had won their first three home meetings with Toronto FC, before a 3-3 draw in 2009, then the 3-2 TFC victory last year, the first win for the Reds at RFK Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Aron Winter vs. DC: first game ... Ben Olsen v TOR: P2 W1 L1 D0

TORONTO FC

Toronto FC played to their third consecutive draw, reaching a scoreless tie with the LA Galaxy on Wednesday evening at BMO Field. TFC have 6 points from 5 games on the season, in third place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy three times hit the woodwork on the night, including midway through the second half when David Beckham curled a freekick around the wall and beat TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei, only to see it come crashing back off the left upright.
  • Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made three saves, including a game-saving stop late from close range on a Joao Plata header.
  • It was the third consecutive draw over the past two seasons between Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy.
  • TFC head coach Aron Winter made three changes to the team that reached a 1-1 result with the San Jose

Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Ty Harden came into the back four for Nana Attakora, Julian de Guzman
made the start in midfield in place of Maicon Santos, and Gianluca Zavarise started up top for Alan Gordon.

  • TORONTO FC (4-1-2-3): Stefan Frei – Dan Gargan, Ty Harden, Adrian Cann, Danleigh Borman – Julian de Guzman (Mikael Yourassowsky 65) – Jacob Peterson, Tony Tchani– Javier Martina (Joao Plata 85), Alen Stevanovic, Gianluca Zavarise (Oscar Cordon 79).

TEAM NEWS

  • Winter was forced into some last-minute changes to his team, even in the hours leading up to kickoff. Alan Gordon was ruled out with a groin injury, and Maicon Santos was a late scratch with the flu.
  • “The way we started was not very well, because most of the time we are making the opponent stronger, and today they didn’t score but they could have in the first minute,” said Winter. “We got lucky they didn’t score and then we could come into the game. It’s also difficult because we had to be a little creative to get the balance in the team, and that’s why I said before that the draw was a good result.”
  • The visit by D.C. United is the second of three home games in a row for Toronto FC and the fourth in a stretch of five home games out of six from March 26-April 23. TFC is still unbeaten at home this season, with 5 points from 3 home matches; a year ago, the Reds had 6 wins and 6 draws in 15 MLS games at BMO Field.
  • "I'm not content with the draw, especially at home," Adrian Cann said. "We've got to get the three points. I think tonight was all right because we didn't have the forwards up top."
  • After two consecutive starts – though he was taken off at halftime in San Jose – Nana Attakora was dropped from the team, with Ty Harden moving inside to partner Adrian Cann in central defense.
  • “Nana at the moment is in a difficult situation because he isn’t able to perform as he was in the preseason, and the other guys who are starting are playing well. But Nana, his time is coming,” Winter said.
  • In the absence of Maicon Santos, Julian de Guzman was given his first start of the season, in a deep-lying central midfield role, behind Jacob Peterson and Tony Tchani.
  • “We were able to sort ourselves out after the first 20 minutes, and give them a hard time after that. At that point we were able to get confidence and play our game, and we were able to give them problems,” de Guzman said. “I think the support of Tony and Jacob made my job easier, and the more we get to play together, the more comfortable we will be in the future.
  • It was the longest shift of the season for de Guzman, a halftime substitute each of the last two matches. “I was happy to start the game, and get my first hour in five months. That’s the way for me to get game-fit, as I’m still in preseason mode,” de Guzman said. “But with more games like this I could see myself being 90 minutes fit close to the end of the month.”

D.C. UNITED

D.C. United put an end to their two-game losing streak in dramatic fashion, getting a late penalty kick for a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. United have 4 points from 4 games on the year, sitting in a three- way for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy took the lead in the 12th minute when David Beckham’s curling corner from the left was nodded home by Mike Magee.
  • But United pulled level again through some late heroics by Charlie Davies. After Davies was knocked over by Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez as he tried to push past in the left of the area in the 89th minute, referee Abbey Okujala pointed to the spot and Davies converted with a cheeky chip down the center of the goal.
  • United coach Ben Olsen made five changes to the team that fell 4-1 to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Bill Hamid came in between the posts for Pat Onstad, Dejan Jakovic and Ethan White started in central defense for Daniel Woolardand Rodrigo Brasesco, and Clyde Simms and Josh Wolff came in for Kurt Morsink and Branko Boskovic.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb (Andy Najar 72), Dejan Jakovic, Ethan White, Marc Burch - Clyde Simms - Santino Quaranta (sent off 84), Dax McCarty (Branko Boskovic 81), Chris Pontius - Josh Wolff, Blake Brettschneider (Charlie Davies 53)

TEAM NEWS

  • Charlie Davies took over the lead in the MLS Golden Boot standings with his fourth goal of the season, scoring his third penalty kick for the dramatic equalizer against the LA Galaxy. “He came in and gave us a big play, and that’s what he’s been doing off the bench,” United coach Ben Olsen said.
  • Davies has come off the bench for each of his three MLS appearances, the longest a 45-minute shift in the 2-1 loss at New England on March 26. But he could be ready to make his first MLS start.
  • “I’ll go 95 [minutes],” Davies said. “I’m ready. I want to play. I want to play every minute. That’s why I came to D.C. United, is to play and get all the time I can. Coming off the bench is OK in the beginning. Of course, I haven’t played in a year and a half, so they want to ease me in and not just throw me out there for 90 minutes. At this point, I feel I’m ready to go.”
  • D.C. United became the first team in MLS history to feature three Homegrown Players on the field at the same time. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid and defender Ethan White, who made his first MLS start, were in Ben Olsen’s starting lineup; 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year Andy Najar came on as a second-half substitute.
  • White was also one of three rookies in the D.C. lineup, along with striker Blake Brettschneider and fullback Chris Korb.
  • “For the most part, he was a stud,” Olsen said of White. “The guy’s as athletic as you are going to see and he seems to be a gamer. He seems to be a guy that when you give him a stage he does pretty well, and those are the guys ultimately you want on your team.”
  • Another rookie, Perry Kitchen, returned to the club from international duty with the U.S. U-20 national team, but was a late scratch because of illness. “My day was ruined around 1 o’clock. I also found out around that time that Landon [Donovan] wasn’t coming, so it was about a wash,” said Olsen.
  • Santino Quaranta, who has started every league game for United since May 29 of last season, will miss the Toronto match through suspension after being sent off late for a second booking.
  • “When it’s game time, can we be a team that can have the type of guys under a little pressure still find a way to play soccer?” Olsen said. “That’s what we’re striving to do. I know I probably sound a little negative for squeaking out a 1-1 tie.”