Tony Tchani’s ill-advised celebration after his first Toronto FC goal didn’t escape the glare of referee David Gantar on Saturday, and it certainly didn’t go unnoticed by his new head coach.
Tchani was shown a second yellow card and sent off after he jumped over the BMO Field placards to celebrate his 41st-minute goal against the Columbus Crew. The Crew used a second-half goal from Emilio Renteria to rally for the 1-1 draw, and keep TFC winless in 12 games all-time in the Trillium Cup rivalry.
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“It was stupid because he had his first yellow card, and you know that when you leave the pitch to jump in the crowd you are going to get your second yellow,” TFC head coach Aron Winter said. “At that moment he was emotional because it was his first goal for TFC, and he forgot, but it was not clever.”
Tchani’s goal was the first in five games since coming to Toronto FC from New York in a trade for Dwayne De Rosario on April 1. But the ejection meant as much to the game as the goal for the Reds, who struggled to generate a wealth of scoring chances while playing a man down for the entire second half.
“(Winter) was mad, he thought it was stupid, but I didn’t think it was stupid because I have seen games before that (players go into the crowd) all the time,” Tchani said. “I thought that for my first goal I had to give that to the fans.”
Tchani also contested his first yellow card in the 37th minute, given during a heated scrum with the Crew’s Kevin Burns.
“On the first (yellow card) it wasn’t me. I didn’t push the guy, it was my teammate,” Tchani said. “I didn’t want to snitch on my teammate but it was my teammate who pushed the guy. Then the ref called me and gave me the yellow card, I was shocked.
“Then on the second one, I was like ‘what’s going on?” Tchani added. “Then he gives me the red.”
The Reds played admirably enough after Tchani was shown the door, but they certainly weren’t the same team. They controlled the flow of the game in the early going and looked poised to potentially snatch their first win in the increasingly one-sided rivalry, but they struggled to generate any real scoring chances after Rentería’s goal shifted the momentum to the Crew in the opening minutes of the second half.
Winter brought on Mikael Yourassowsky for Alan Gordon at the break and newcomer Richard Eckersley for Javier Martina in the 63rd minute, but neither was able to help the Reds overcome the one-man disadvantage.
“It is a pity that we tied, because after last week how we started, compared to now, it was a very good start,” Winter said. “Not only the start, but the way we played the first half, it was very good, because we were dominating the game at that time.
“In the second half we made some changes because we have a very hard period in the coming weeks, and you have to be careful with some players,” he added. “So we made some changes to at least get one point.”
“I thought it was the best 45 we had for the season,” defender Adrian Cann said of TFC’s first half. “So it’s disappointing that we couldn’t stay at 11 guys at get the win.”