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Reds seeing fortunes change in 2009
March 31, 2009, 7:17 AM
Filed under: Toronto FC

Toronto FC was plagued by a number of bad breaks at the end of games last season that turned wins into draws and draws into losses. Against Columbus last Saturday, however, this late-game misfortune turned into Miss Fortune, as this time it was TFC who benefitted from a costly error by the opposition.

A Dwayne De Rosario free kick in the 84th minute sailed into the Columbus penalty and was met by Crew defender Gino Padula. When Padula leapt into the air for a header, however, the ball struck his head at just the right angle to bounce backwards and off and under the bar of the Columbus goal.

It was the third own goal received in Toronto FC’s history, and it couldn’t have come at a more crucial time for the Reds. Padula’s mistake was the equalizer in a 1-1 draw that gave TFC a valuable away point at the defending MLS Cup champions’ park.

“Although we got a great point it wasn’t a great performance,” Carver said. “But it was a gritty performance and one that [because] we stayed in there and stuck with it we got ourselves back in the game with a bit of fortune. You need that fortune since there will be plenty of times when it goes against you.”

It was more than luck that gave TFC the draw, however. The Reds were controlled most of the second half, aside from a pair of early scoring chances from the Crew that tested goalkeeper Greg Sutton. The Canadian ‘keeper kept it a one-goal match after making two big saves within a four-minute span on shots by Jason Garey and Chad Marshall.

It was a quick start to the action for Sutton, who just entered the game as a halftime substitute after starting goalkeeper Stefan Frei left the game with a lower back injury.

“[Coming straight into a game] is something you don’t do normally, so it’s a tough situation to put yourself into,” Sutton said. “But that’s the reason you have someone on the bench. You have to be prepared. The timing was OK. I had enough time to get warmed up during the half and then it was right into the game.”

Sutton himself had suffered some injuries during training camp, most notably a dislocated finger, that played a role in his losing the starting assignment to rookie Frei. Sutton felt that his performance against the Crew helped to bolster his case for being between the posts on Saturday for TFC’s home opener against Seattle.

“Every time you play here at home is exciting and especially the beginning of the season is a special event,” Sutton said. “[Playing] at home is something we’re confident with and when we step on that field we know we’re going to be tough. The fans are going to be behind us, so it’s exciting for us to get our home opener underway.”

Carver said that Frei’s injury wasn’t too serious and that the first-year ‘keeper would be re-evaluated on Thursday. With Sutton and Brian Edwards both performing well in training and, in Sutton’s case, on the field, Carver isn’t taking any needless risks with Frei’s health.

“The luxury we have is having three top goaltenders, so we wouldn’t rush him back if he wasn’t right,” Carver said. “I have enough faith in the other two guys to step in.

“I wasn’t concerned about Greg coming on because I knew he wouldn’t let me down because of the way he’s been training and waiting for his chance. And his performance, he made two very, very good saves. His decision-making was very good and that’s what I want from a goalkeeper.”

In other lineup news, Amado Guevara and Carl Robinson should both be available for the Seattle match after missing last weekend’s game due to international duties. Guevara played 90 minutes in Honduras’ 1-1 draw with Trinidad and Tobago, while Robinson came on as a second-half substitute in Wales’ 2-0 loss to Finland.

Guevara and Robinson play again for their respective national teams on Wednesday, and Carver said that he’ll assess their status for Saturday after those international matches have been completed. The coach said he is eager to get his two midfielders back, as Carver felt their absence was a big reason why TFC struggled at times against the Crew attack.

“We had the heart of our team missing, right through the spine of the team,” Carver said. “If you look at our two performances, it was sort of night and day from Kansas City [a 3-2 win where Guevara scored a brace] to Columbus. That’s why I was so pleased at the end of the game because with the two main players out of the team, we still got a result against last year’s champions.”

While the season is still early, Toronto sits tied for first place in the Eastern Conference with four points (1-0-1) after the Columbus draw and the win in Kansas City. Given that TFC collected just 10 points on the road all last season, their current away form has already boosted the club, and with nine of their next 12 league games at BMO Field, the Reds have a chance to get an early jump on the rest of the league.

“To get four tough points away from home in our first two games is definitely a huge plus,” said midfielder Dwayne De Rosario. “It shows where the guys’ minds are at. The last couple of years are in the past. … Our home record speaks for itself. We want to continue that and improve on it, so hopefully [we’ll] go undefeated at home.”

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

Comment by matt

Come out this Wednesday, April 1st to mingle with Rohan Rickett’s of the TFC at Shoeless Joe’s on King. The event is free of charge and open to everyone and is being held to celebrate the launch of Rohan’s A4A campain ‘Football for Good’!

Check out the invite here:
http://www.facebook.com/inbox/readmessage.php?t=1087343234689&f=1&e=-12#/event.php?eid=65280885964

Hope to see you there!

Comment by Sheila




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