TORONTO – Andy Iro need not have worried. The central defender’s return to Columbus was good in every way.
Not only did Toronto FC win on the road for the first time this season, taking a 4-2 decision from Crew Stadium on Saturday, but Iro had a warm greeting from fans at Crew Stadium.
“It was all love, man,” Iro said after Saturday’s game. “I saw some Iro T-shirts and it was great. The fans were great to me here and it was great seeing them, and seeing all the organization and all the people that made the previous four years of my life great.”
Iro was traded to Toronto on July 15 with midfielder Leandre Griffit for midfielder Tony Tchani.
The big defender was one of many Toronto midseason acquisitions, not all of whom may have been caught up on what turned out to be a historic Saturday evening — since TFC entered Major League Soccer in 2007, they had never beaten Columbus. The victory came in the 13th league match between the teams, and the meaning wasn’t lost on Iro.
“Obviously, first away win of the season, first time to beat the Crew and winning the [Trillium] Cup," said Iro, "so it means a lot.”
The Trillium Cup goes to the winner of the season series between the teams, and it made its way across the border to Ontario for the first time as the Reds went 1-0-1 against Columbus this season.
In addition to claiming their first rivalry cup, there were a number of other encouraging things on display against the Crew that TFC hope to make into a trend. Namely, they didn’t try to sit on a lead and they took advantage of their scoring chances.
“We got off to a good start and I think we did some things that we haven’t been doing that well in our previous games, which is take our chances,” Iro said. “Obviously we went into half time 2-0 up and at that point it was kind of our work and organization to get the win.
“To our credit, we gave up two goals and we knew the Crew were going to come, and we scored two more, so it was a good all-around performance.”
Toronto FC have little time to bask in the win. They travel to Mexico City on Tuesday and will play Pumas UNAM on Wednesday in a CONCACAF Champions League Group C match (8 pm ET, GOLTV Canada, TeleFutura).
Frei hurt again
Goalkeeper Stefan Frei suffered a bruised thigh in the second half of Saturday’s match and had to be removed from the game. The team reported that he was progressing well on Monday but more would be known Tuesday.
It was his first start since Aug. 6. A few days after that match he suffered a bruised knee in training and had been on the mend ever since.