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TFC suddenly grabs top spot
April 27, 2009, 8:16 AM
Filed under: Kansas City Wizards, Toronto FC

It’s a new era and a new position – first place.

Toronto FC players, stunned by Saturday’s resignation of head coach John Carver, put the off-field distractions aside last night to defeat the Kansas City Wizards 1-0 at BMO Field, vaulting to the top of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference standing.

“We’ve had a hard couple of days, as you’ve all seen, and we just wanted to get that win,” said Danny Dichio, who scored on a low, right-footed shot from about 10 yards that snuck just inside the left post past a diving Kevin Hartman in the 54th minute.

“We wanted to show as a team that we’ve got a great team spirit here,” Dichio continued, “and no matter what happens with the staff … it’s the team that wins games here and the team that loses games here.

“We had to go out and show the fans today that we’re strong as a unit.”

The departure of Carver, who abruptly announced his resignation for “personal reasons” only four days after he was fined $750 (U.S.) by MLS for publicly criticizing the officiating in last Sunday’s 3-2 loss at FC Dallas, left the players “disappointed and saddened,” Carl Robinson said. He called the ex-coach “a great guy, the boys loved him.”

“We said today what we’ve got to do now is win the game for him and go and get the end product, which is get in the playoffs and win a championship for him,” Robinson explained.

Chris Cummins, who handled sideline duties in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Chivas USA, was again there last night.

General manager Mo Johnston said he’ll meet with Cummins and assistant coach Nick Dasovic today and then likely announce they’ll be interim coaches.

“We need to put the era of John Carver behind us now and we have to move forward,” Johnston told reporters at a post-game news conference, stressing that there was no rift between him and Carver, that the former coach wasn’t angry about a lack of support from TFC management over the MLS discipline or fleeing for a job back in his native England.

Cummins, who said, “I’d be silly to sit here and say, `No, I don’t'” want the head coach’s job, employed a three-striker formation for the second straight game and TFC created a host of chances before 20,056 fans.

Dichio, a 6-foot-3, 208-pounder, constantly created space for Chad Barrett and rookie Pablo Vitti, who was brilliant with the ball.

“The chances that we created were first class,” Cummins said. “I start worrying when we don’t create chances.”

“The finishing isn’t what I wanted,” Vitti said through an interpreter of a game in which he got four shots, was always a threat and was named man of the match.

Vitti thought he had opened the scoring in the 52nd minute and tore off his shirt in celebration. But the play was called offside and he was given a yellow card for the move.

“I feel very well playing with those guys,” Vitti said of lining up alongside Dichio and Barrett, as he did for the first time in Wednesday’s victory.

“We fit each other. I think we can go forward in the next games and keep the team up.”

Lack of finishing touch by TFC kept the game in doubt and made for some tense final moments as Kansas City, 3-3-1, had a couple of good chances to tie it.

In the 88th minute, Herculez Gomez broke through and shot from 18 yards, forcing a good save by rookie Stefan Frei, who picked up his second shutout in a row.

In stoppage time, Frei just got his hand on a high drive by Claudio Lopez to preserve the win.

Source: Click Here

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