Charlie Davies scored his league-leading fifth goal and Chris Pontius netted a brace as D.C. United sunk Toronto FC 3-0 on the strength of two goals in the first 11 minutes at a cold and wet BMO Field on Saturday night.
Pontius and Davies sliced through the TFC back line with ease to finish on their first two looks at goal in the opening minutes. Toronto's chances of coming back from the one-two punch were dealt a blow with the sending-off of Ty Harden four minutes after the break. Another classy finish from Pontius in the 73rd minute put the game out of reach.
The Reds that came out flat-footed, giving away a great deal of space in the early going. Unlike the past two games, however, the opponent made Toronto pay, putting the game out of reach before some fans had even settled into their seats.
D.C. got off the mark when Pontius took advantage of a bad giveaway in the fifth minute to break in one-on-one against TFC 'keeper Stefan Frei. The midfielder made no mistake by slotting it under a hard charging Frei to open the scoring.
Things got worse quickly for the Reds. Another sloppy exchange along the TFC backline saw Charlie Davies break in with a point-blank chance on Frei. He caught the 'keeper to his glove side to make the game 2-0 before it was 12 minutes old.
Following the goal, Davies sprinted towards the corner where he danced inches from the the TFC supporter’s groups. The attacker managed to avoid a yellow card for inciting, but TFC did find itself forced into a substitution when centerback Adrian Cann went down with an injury on the play with bruised ribs.
Cann’s knock gave out of favour center back Nana Attakora a chance to get back into the line-up after starting his second straight game on the bench. In the 41st minute the 21-year-old almost made good when he flashed a volley just wide off of TFC’s first corner of the half. It was the only clear chance for the Reds in the opening 45.
Any chance of a second half comeback was quickly erased when Harden picked up a straight red for a challenge on Pontius just outside the 18-yard box. Referee Mike Kadlecik, who was making his first MLS start, judged the play to have prevented a clear goal-scoring opportunity, showing Harden his marching orders.
Despite going down a man, it was TFC that took to the front foot following the call. The Reds earned two corners in the next five minutes and seemed to be the more energized team. Although they were especially dangerous on set pieces, they could not challenge D.C. 'keeper Bill Hamid.
The ascendancy was fleeting however, and DC United managed finish things off when Pontius got his brace after stepping inside Julian de Guzman and firing a perfect shot into the far corner past a diving Frei.
Defender Ethan White prevented TFC from getting a consolation goal, clearing a late effort by Gianluca Zavarise off the line after it beat Hamid.
DC -- Chris Pontius 1 (unassisted) 5
DC -- Charlie Davies 5 (unassisted) 10
DC -- Chris Pontius 2 (Fred 1) 73
D.C. United -- Bill Hamid, Chris Korb, Ethan White, Dejan Jakovic (Perry Kitchen 64), Marc Burch, Fred (Joseph Ngwenya 84), Clyde Simms, Chris Pontius, Dax McCarty (Branko Boskovic 73), Josh Wolff, Charlie Davies.
Substitutes Not Used: Brandon Barklage, Blake Brettschneider, Daniel Woolard, Pat Onstad.
Toronto FC -- Stefan Frei, Jacob Peterson, Ty Harden, Adrian Cann (Nana Attakora 12), Danleigh Borman, Oscar Cordon (Dan Gargan 54), Julian de Guzman, Tony Tchani, Javier Martina, Maicon Santos (Gianluca Zavarise 66), Alen Stevanovic.
Substitutes Not Used: Joao Plata, Nick Soolsma, Mikael Yourassowsky, Milos Kocic.
DC -- Chris Pontius (caution; Reckless Foul) 42
TOR -- Ty Harden (ejection; Denied Goal Scoring Opportunity (Foul)) 49
TOR -- Dan Gargan (caution; Reckless Foul) 88
Referee: Mark Kadlecik
Referee's Assistants: Rob Fereday; Anthony Vasoli
4th Official: Geoff Gamble
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Cloudy and 43 degrees