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Crew, Reds play to second draw of season
May 3, 2009, 9:58 AM
Filed under: Columbus Crew, Toronto FC

A 64th-minute goal from Chad Barrett earned Toronto FC a point in a hard-fought 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew on Saturday at BMO Field.

Emmanuel Ekpo gave the Crew the lead 10 minutes earlier, capping a slaloming dribbling run through the TFC defense with a cool finish. But Barrett’s header off of a tremendous cross from Sam Cronin drew the Reds level, despite being outshot 17-5 by a game Columbus side.

The result extends two winless streaks — the Crew are still looking for their first win of the season (0-2-5), while Toronto is now 0-4-4 all-time against their Trillium Cup rivals. The teams also played to a 1-1 draw on March 28 in Columbus.

Toronto FC stayed with the same 4-3-3 alignment and starting XI that brought them victory in their last two games. For the Crew, two changes were made to the side that tied the Chicago Fire last Saturday. Robbie Rogers replaced the injured Adam Moffat in midfield, while defender Jed Zayner filled in for Gino Padula, who was serving a one-game suspension following a red card in the Chicago match.

Almost as if on cue with the opening whistle, a strong wind and driving rain blew in, leading to some wild passes in the opening minutes as the two teams adjusted to the suddenly wet conditions. Columbus defender Eric Brunner slipped on the wet turf while trying to clear the ball, leading to a turnover to Toronto’s Carl Robinson. The midfielder himself had trouble finding his footing, and could only manage a weak attempt at the Crew goal.

Columbus had the advantage over the first 15 minutes, keeping the ball in the TFC end and earning three corner kicks. Guillermo Barros Schelotto notched the Crew’s first shot on goal (a fairly harmless test of Reds goalkeeper Stefan Frei), but also picked up a caution after a reckless foul on TFC striker Pablo Vitti.

As the weather improved, so did TFC’s attack. In the 20th minute, Barrett accepted a long pass just on the edge of the Crew penalty area. Barrett was closely marked by defender Danny O’Rourke, but managed to create enough room for himself to thread a pass through the middle towards a charging Vitti. The pass was just a step or two beyond Vitti’s reach, however, and goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum fell on the ball to end the threat.

This near-miss, however, was virtually the only offensive chance created by the Reds over the first 40 minutes. It took 35 minutes just for TFC to record their first shot, a wide attempt from Vitti. It was a disappointing start for a side that had looked so strong on attack in its last two games, and entered the match fourth in the league in shots taken (75).

The Crew outshot the Reds by an 11-2 margin in the first half, but couldn’t convert the advantage into a goal. In the 39th minute, midfielder Eddie Gaven made some nice moves to control a bouncing ball and move down the center of the TFC penalty area. He dropped a pass off to Schelotto, but the shot from the reigning MLS Most Valuable Player sailed over the net.

A couple of minutes later, midfielder Robbie Rogers had an even more promising attempt off of a Schelotto free kick. Frei got caught up in a crowd trying to jump and grab the ball, and the ball deflected to Rogers in front of the net. The attempt was also off-target, as Rogers sent a partially deflected shot over the crossbar.

Dwayne De Rosario, who had missed TFC’s previous two games with a hamstring injury, came into the match at halftime as a substitution for striker Danny Dichio.

In the 54th minute, Columbus finally broke through. Ekpo knocked down a bouncing ball and ran down the center of the field, took advantage of a turned-around Jim Brennan and then ran between Brennan and Velez. Frei was drawn out of the goal to challenge, and Ekpo rounded the goalkeeper to his left before putting the ball into the net to give the Crew a 1-0 lead.

It was the first goal of the season for the second-year Nigerian, and his first since last July 5 against Chicago. Ekpo’s goal ended an impressive shutout streak from Frei, who had kept a clean sheet for his previous 240 minutes.

The key to the Crew’s early-season struggles has been their inability to hold a lead, however, and it struck again just 10 minutes later. TFC rookie midfielder Cronin took a pass from Amado Guevara and made a great run down the left side, evading a defender and sending a fantastic cross to Barrett just in front of the goal area. The Reds striker made no mistake with a header that found the back to the net for his second goal of the year and put Toronto back level.

In the ensuing minutes, both teams had a quality chance at the go-ahead goal. Gaven’s header on the right side of the TFC net required a point-blank save from Frei. In the 72nd minute, Marvell Wynne won a tough battle for the ball down the right side with Crew midfielder Brian Carroll and crossed to a charging De Rosario, whose attempt went high.

Though Frei lost his shutout streak earlier in the game, the Toronto ‘keeper was once again in good form on the day, and faced with his toughest challenge in the 78th minute. Defender Adrian Serioux took a bad touch of a back pass, and sent the ball directly to a wide-open Pat Noonan. In a one-on-one situation, Frei was able to get a leg on the ball before Noonan could properly square and shoot, and the attempt was deflected out of bounds.

The last major chance of the game came on a De Rosario direct free kick in the 86th minute. De Rosario’s shot was well struck and evaded the Columbus wall, but it went just a few feet wide of the net.

TFC next plays on Wednesday, hosting the USL-1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the opening match of the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship. The Reds’ next league game is on Sat., May 9 in Washington against Eastern Conference rivals D.C. United. As for Columbus, they head back to Crew Stadium to face off against the Kansas City Wizards next Saturday.

Source: Click Here



Watch TFC vs Columbus: LIVE
May 2, 2009, 11:12 AM
Filed under: Columbus Crew, Toronto FC

CLICK HERE to watch Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew. Live @ 4pm ET.



Cue up the Crew
April 30, 2009, 8:18 AM
Filed under: Columbus Crew, Toronto FC

The Columbus Crew is coming to Toronto.

Quick, someone hide the women and children.

The Crew and Toronto FC bring out the beast in each other — and that’s just in the stands.

If this were the western frontier of the 1800s, Saturday’s meeting would be the equivalent of the Clanton boys riding into Tombstone to party with the Earps.

We’re talkin’ Hatfields and McCoys, cats in the doghouse, and George Bush at the bin Laden family picnic. Not great mixers.

The league may have only itself to blame. When Toronto joined the MLS in 2007, it set up the Trillium Cup, a three-game series in hopes of fostering a rivalry with Columbus. It has worked, perhaps, a bit too well.

The proximity of the cities has led to the largest travelling contingent of fans in league history, a stronger fan club in Columbus, and a healthy war of words. It has also escalated into some unhealthy physical altercations.

Last year, a Crew supporter and a TFC fan scuffled over a team scarf. As well, already upset about midfielder Robbie Roberts being hit by a cup of beer during a game, Crew fans traded insults and punches with TFC fans outside BMO Field.

In this season’s opener, almost 1,600 Toronto supporters travelled to Columbus. There were political taunts; damage to the stadium.

After the game, five got arrested, one got tasered and the post-game fights were featured on You-Tube.

Much of the flak, perhaps unfairly, has been directed at the 500-strong Red Patch Boys, and other smaller official fan clubs.

“The stuff that happens in Europe is a totally different sociological issue,” Red Patch club president Jack DePoe said.

“Those hooligan groups are roughly equivalent to our street gangs in North America. Here, they form around where you live. There, they form around political alliances and sports teams. We have a rivalry with … Columbus.”

They are loud, they are proud, they may even be rude, said DePoe, but they aren’t hooligans.

Last week, a club member, Corporal Greg Yeoman, Third Battalion Royal Canadians, was honoured by the team for his duty in Afghanistan. Not exactly criminal types.

They do not condone players being given beer baths and, says DePoe, fighting or throwing objects — other than the traditional paper streamers — is grounds for having membership forfeited.

“We understand why (we get blamed). We don’t accept that we do,” DePoe said.

Visible and vocal, the clubs are easy targets. There is room to be misunderstood.

“We are very exuberant,” DePoe said. “No question. People who aren’t part of our group; maybe they don’t get it and see the opportunity to get crazy.

“But we have a purpose. It’s not for the sake of acting like jerks. It’s to get behind the team and give them energy … that 12th man status is something we’re very proud of.”

The people involved in altercations in Columbus weren’t Red Patch Boys, nor were the two youths arrested last week for throwing flares.

“We can keep our own people under control, but a lot of people went (to Columbus) on their own.

“If there’s someone you don’t know and you walk up and say: ‘Hey, buddy, don’t throw that beer.’ And he’s drunk, what are the odds he’ll listen? It’s a tough situation for us. We know the consequences of throwing stuff and violence and we don’t want a part of it.”

The Red Patch Boys will gather Saturday at BMO Field and, communication officer Paul Lewicki said: “If (Columbus fans) show up at our tailgate, we’d welcome them.

“We don’t really have anything against Columbus … their ugly yellow uniforms might be the only thing we don’t like.”

Them’s fightin’ words.

But only, remember, in the nicest possible way.

Source: Click Here



Some TFC fans arrested, Tasered, after CLB game
March 31, 2009, 7:16 AM
Filed under: Columbus Crew, TFC Supporters, Toronto FC

They are the “12th man” for Toronto FC, the big reason the team found instant fan appeal and why BMO Field is the place to be for a memorable game experience.

But some TFC supporters gave themselves and the club, a black eye in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday with behaviour that led to brawls, police stun guns and even condemnation from Toronto fans who were at the 1-1 game against the hometown Crew.

“My information is that as fans were leaving, several fights broke out in the parking lot and the special duty officers had to request assistance,” Rich Weiner, public information officer with the Columbus Police Department, said yesterday.

“Some people were Tasered, some were arrested. I know at least a couple were taken to jail, but if (charges) were of a serious nature, I would know by now. Those involved likely would have posted a bond.”

Whether the arrested fans were Canadians or Americans is unknown. The Columbus Dispatch reported at least three arrests, but police would not confirm the number.

The Crew and a TFC official did not immediately return calls from Sun Media last night.

A YouTube clip of a TFC fan getting tackled by several officers after apparently being hit with a stun gun was one of many crowd images posted yesterday and there was heavy web traffic with varying accounts of the crowd antics during the game and the fighting afterwards.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 Toronto fans made the six-hour drive, most of them belonging to designated clubs such as the Red Patch Boys and U-Sector.

“Some, but not all, were drunken boobs who didn’t know if they were in Baffin Island or Columbus, Ohio,” a fan named Chris told Sun Media, not wanting his last name used.

“They were very disrespectful during the American anthem, they hid under a giant red flag and threw smoke bombs at the security guards on the sidelines … one of my own friends was even chanting ‘you have no health care’ at their fans.

“I try and keep an open mind, but I also believe in respect. They are blue-collar people such as ourselves. There were some tough looking Columbus fans with bandanas covering their faces who were headed towards the TFC fans, so when you ask for trouble, you get trouble.”

The Dispatch reported part of a steel bleacher railing was pulled out by Toronto fans and thrown on a tent below and some bleacher seats damaged.

Some mace or pepper spray was used to break up the scrappers and wafted through the parking lot causing discomfort to families and young children.

Jack Depoe, president of the Red Patch Boys, said there was an understanding with Crew Stadium security that most Toronto fans would remain inside after the game.

“Until the coast was clear, for lack of a better term,” he said. “But I don’t think the execution was as good as it could have been.” Most fans of both teams used the same exit.

“There are people passionate about soccer on both teams,” Depoe said, “The MLS hasn’t had this kind of attention before. To me (the police involvement) seemed heavy-handed, but I don’t know Columbus. You get the same kind of crowd behaviour at a Buffalo Bills’ game.

“I can only speak for Red Patch Boys. There were 700 of us, we had a blast, a few beers, but as far as I know, none were arrested.”

Source: Click Here



TFC draws Columbus
March 29, 2009, 10:38 AM
Filed under: Columbus Crew, Toronto FC

An unlikely late-game error by Columbus Crew defender Gino Padula helped Toronto FC remain undefeated this season with a 1-1 tie at Crew Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Toronto’s unexpected equalizer came in the 84th minute through an own goal after a long ball into Columbus penalty area by Reds midfielder Dwayne De Rosario was headed backwards by Padula and eventually into his own net.

Padula attempted to head De Rosario’s long bomb behind him and over the crossbar but the ball was short, bounced off the bar, hit goalkeeper William Hesmer and crossed the goal line for a surprise equalizer as Columbus fans looked ready to celebrate a win in their home opener.

While Toronto struggled with long searching balls forward from their backline for much of the game, the Crew and their 2008 MLS MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto dictated the offensive tempo from the opening whistle with short quick passes in the midfield and long crosses into the Toronto penalty area.

Schelotto netted his second goal of the season for the defending MLS Cup champions in in the 30th minute to break a scoreless deadlock.

Schelotto tried to send a hard pass across the penalty area which deflected off the arm of Toronto midfielder Kevin Harmse and referee Michael Kennedy made no mistake in quickly pointing to the penalty spot.

Schelotto showed his deadly marksmanship on the resulting spot kick, blasting his shot down the middle of the Toronto goal with ‘keeper Stefan Frei guessing wrong and diving to his right giving the Crew a 1-0 lead.

The former Boca Juniors star, in his third season with the Crew, scored in the Crew’s opening 1-1 draw away to Houston last Saturday.

Columbus nearly added to its lead in the 37th minute with midfielder Eddie Gaven’s blistering shot from the top of the penalty area struck off the goalpost. Gathering up the rebound, Nigerian midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo took a hard shot on goal forcing Frei into a fingertip save, pushing Ekpo’s shot over the goal.

Frei was replaced at halftime by third-year goalkeeper Greg Sutton, after Frei was reported to have injured his lower back on the Ekpo save.

Schelotto was a handful for Toronto’s backline of Marvell Wynne, Jim Brennan, Adrian Serioux and Marco Velez throughout the game, providing clever touches and through balls to strike partner Jason Garey and rookie third-round MLS SuperDraft selection Alex Grendi, while Toronto hoped for long searching through balls from defender Jim Brennan and their chant.

It wasn’t until the 42nd minute that Argentinean striker Pablo Vitti gave Hesmer his first true test of the match with a hard shot that Hesmer scooped up easily.

In the 53rd minute Vitti stripped Crew midfielder Brian Carroll of the ball at the top of the Columbus penalty area and played a through ball to Chad Barrett, but Barrett’s attempted equalizer went wide of goal.

In the 55th minute Sutton was forced to make his first save of the game, stopping a hard shot by Jason Garey with Marco Velez clearing the resulting rebound out of play.

Three minutes later Schelotto provided a pinpoint cross to Columbus defender Chad Marshall but Sutton was on the spot to collect the ball and the Canadian international made a diving save on Garey just moments later.

Toronto began to take the play more to the Crew after the 62nd minute when Johann Smith entered the game for Rohan Ricketts and Danny Dichio entered for Chad Barrett in the 68th minute.

A total of five players were missing from Saturday’s match due to international duty. Velez, playing in his second season with Toronto, and Vitti, an offseason acquisition from Argentina’s Independiente, made their first starts for TFC on Saturday in place of Welsh midfielder Carl Robinson and Honduras international Amado Guevara.

Midfielder Sam Cronin of Wake Forest started his second consecutive game for Toronto after being selected second overall in last January’s MLS Super Draft out of Wake Forest.

Columbus was without three players due to international matches: defender Frankie Hejduk (United States); striker Alejandro Moreno (Venezuela) and midfielder Duncan Oughton (New Zealand).

Toronto FC were winless in six previous meetings against the Crew since their inaugural 2007 season, having tied three times and lost on three occasions while being outscored by a 9-3 margin.

Prior to the match Clark Hunt, the son of late Crew owner Lamar Hunt, presented last year’s MLS Cup trophy to the Crew and Schelotto, who won both league and MLS Cup MVP honors.

More than 2,000 Toronto FC fans, making up the team’s four supporters groups, made the 8-hour drive to Ohio for the match, causing an electric atmosphere in the stands during the game and parking lot prior to the match.

Toronto plays host to expansion Seattle Sounders FC in their home opener at BMO Field next Saturday, while Columbus travels to Salt Lake City on Thursday for their third match of the season.

Source: Click Here



TFC invades Columbus
March 28, 2009, 10:51 AM
Filed under: Columbus Crew, Toronto FC

TFC vs Columbus will be broadcast live at 4pm ET on:



TFC, fans head south for Trillium Cup
March 27, 2009, 7:25 AM
Filed under: Columbus Crew, Toronto FC, Trillium Cup

COLUMBUS CREW vs TORONTO FC
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
March 28, 2009 (WEEK 2) / MLS Game #8
4 p.m. ET (ONN; Gol TV Canada)

The Columbus Crew and Toronto FC resume their Trillium Cup rivalry when the two meet in Columbus on Saturday, in what is expected to be a tremendous atmosphere with the invasion of thousands of TFC supporters from Canada. The Crew began defense of their MLS title last weekend with a late 1-1 draw in Houston, while Toronto FC opened a season with a victory for the first time, defeating the Kansas City Wizards 3-2 on the road.

REFEREE: Michael Kennedy. SAR (bench): Sean Hurd; JAR (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
MLS Career: 107 games; FC/gm: 31.3; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 19; pens: 41

INJURY REPORT: COLUMBUS CREW — OUT: MF Pat Noonan (lower back strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Robbie Rogers (L hamstring strain) … TORONTO FC – OUT: FW O’Brian White (knee); QUESTIONABLE: DF Nana Attakora-Gyan (hip flexor)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CLB: Frankie Hejduk (USA; vs El Salvador, March 28); Alejandro Moreno (Venezuela; vs Argentina, March 28); Duncan Oughton (New Zealand; vs Thailand, March 28) … TOR: Amado Guevara (Honduras; vs Trinidad & Tobago, March 28); Carl Robinson (Wales; vs Finland, March 28)
SUSPENDED: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Crew 3 wins, 9 goals … Toronto FC 0 wins, 4 goals … Ties 3
AT COLUMBUS (3 meetings): Crew 2 wins, 6 goals … Toronto FC 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 5/2: Columbus Crew at Toronto FC, 4 p.m.; 7/25: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/29: CLB 2, TOR 0 (Moffat 26; Moreno 76)
5/17: TOR 0, CLB 0
9/13: TOR 1, CLB 1 (Robinson 6 – Noonan 40)

• Toronto FC have never defeated the Columbus Crew in six all-time meetings.

• After drawing in their first-ever meeting, the Crew won the next three meetings, before the teams played to draws in their final two encounters last season.

• The teams are playing for the Trillium Cup, awarded by the supporters’ groups of both clubs.

• Coaches record: Robert Warzycha v TOR: first game … John Carver vs. CLB: P3 W0 L1 T2

COLUMBUS CREW

The Columbus Crew opened their title defense by coming from behind for a late 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo last Saturday at Robertson Stadium. The Crew are tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with D.C. United, behind first-week winners Chicago, Toronto and New England.

LAST MATCH
• The Crew came to town to open their title defense against the club that had won the previous titles in the Dynamo, 2006 and ’07 champions.

• Brian Ching opened up a midfield struggle eight minutes into the first half, racing into the area to get onto the end of a return pass from Chris Wondolowski on a one-two and poking it inside the far post.

• But 2008 MLS MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto showed his class in hitting for the equalizer nine minutes from the end, taking a knocked-down cross from Jason Garey and coolly thumping home from the top of the box.

• Crew coach Robert Warzycha ran out a familiar lineup for the season opener, with only change from the team that started the MLS Cup Final last November, as Emmanuel Ekpo took the place of the departed Brad Evans.

• Here’s Warzycha’s team (4-1-3-1-1): William Hesmer – Frankie Hejduk, Chad Marshall, Danny O’Rourke, Gino Padula (Jason Garey 79) – Brian Carroll – Eddie Gaven, Emmanuel Ekpo (Duncan Oughton 87), Robbie Rogers (Alex Grendi 46) – Guillermo Barros Schelotto – Alejandro Moreno

• “They played a little different than we did, and then they made the goal, which of course we figured would happen,” Warzycha said. “We were pushing for the goal and yes, things could have been different, but overall, I’m happy with the team performance. They showed a lot of character and made big changes.”

TEAM NEWS
• The Crew will be missing three players to international duty this weekend. Right back Frankie Hejduk will be the U.S. national team for its World Cup qualifier at El Salvador on Saturday night and home to Trinidad & Tobago next Wednesday in Nashville.

• Forward Alejandro Moreno will join Venezuela for its World Cup qualifier on Saturday against Argentina in Buenos Aires, then at home against Colombia in Puerto Ordaz. Reserve midfielder Duncan Oughton has been called into New Zealand’s national team for friendlies against Thailand and a Thailand “A” selection in Bangkok.

• “I have no problem (with it) because it reflects well on us,” Warzycha said to the Columbus Dispatch. “Some coaches get upset: ‘They’re taking all my players.’ I want them to take my players because it shows we are doing well.”

• In addition to the two starters missing through international duty from the opener, wide midfielder Robbie Rogers is questionable with a hamstring strain. Midfielders Adam Moffat and Pat Noonan will also not be available.

• “Depth was our strong point last year,” Danny O’Rourke said. “We had a consistent team but when injuries struck we were able to not miss a beat. We’ll be all right. Everyone will be amped up for the home opener so I don’t think it will be too much of a problem.”

• Alex Grendi, a third-round pick from the University of Pennsylvania, entered in the 46th minute, coming on for Rogers, and assisted on the Columbus goal with a long ball to Jason Garey, also a second-half substitute.

• “He needs to get some games and get some confidence. He was a little nervous but he contributed,” Warzycha said of Grendi.

• Guillermo Barros Schelotto followed up his MVP season by hitting for the equalizer in the season opener. Schelotto had seven goals and 19 assists in league play, following that with six assists in the MLS Cup Playoffs, in 2008. Of Schelotto’s seven goals last season, three came in the final 10 games.

TORONTO FC

Toronto FC opened the season with a victory for the first time in club history, Amado Guevara scoring a pair of goals in a 3-2 win against the Kansas City Wizards at CommunityAmerica Ballpark last Saturday. TFC is tied atop the Eastern Conference along with first-week winners Chicago and New England.

LAST MATCH
• Another sellout crowd was on hand in a meeting of Eastern Conference rivals. The visitors were up by two goals early in the second half, Jim Brennan capping off a quick counter by lashing home an angled shot inside the near post (33), then Amado Guevara taking a pass at the top of the area, spinning around and hooking a perfectly placed shot inside the right post in the 53rd minute.

• Wizards midfielder Davy Arnaud pulled the home side back just three minutes with a stunning blast from outside the area that rattled off the inside of the goal and thundered back onto the field.

• But TFC were back ahead by two in the 62nd minute, Guevara coming in to sweep home his second goal on a rebound of a saved shot from Dwayne De Rosario.

• Arnaud hit for his second goal of the game in the 76th minute — another stunning blast from outside the area (this time with his right foot). De Rosario had a chance to put the game away in the 80th minute, but sent a penalty kick over the goal, yet the Reds held out for their first win ever to open the season and just their fifth ever away from BMO Field.

• TFC head coach John Carver had some surprises in his opening day lineup, with Stefan Frei selected ahead of incumbent Greg Sutton to start in goal, and Sam Cronin given a start in a wide midfield role as Dwayne De Rosario partnered Chad Barrett in attack.

• Here’s Carver’s team (4-1-3-2): Stefan Frei – Marvell Wynne, Kevin Harmse, Adrian Serioux, Jim Brennan – Carl Robinson – Sam Cronin, Amado Guevara, Rohan Ricketts – Chad Barrett (Danny Dichio 89), Dwayne De Rosario

• “You can tell by the smile on my face I’m absolutely delighted,” said Carver. “Our away record last season wasn’t great, and it was important we came into the first game of the season and got something from it. I’m delighted with the three points, delighted with the performance.”

TEAM NEWS
• TFC will be without a pair of internationals for the week. Midfielder Amado Guevara is with Honduras for a pair of World Cup qualifiers, against Trinidad & Tobago on March 28 and Mexico on April 1, while midfielder Carl Robinson is with the Wales national team for its World Cup qualifiers against Finland (March 28) and Germany (April 1). Guevara and Robinson formed the central midfield partnership in the opening match.

• “We have to deal with it and get on with it,” said Carver. “They’ve got a couple of guys missing as well so we should be evenly matched. The fact that we’re missing two guys from the heart of our midfield is a little bit concerning, but it will give the opportunity to other players to come into the team and make an impact. I’ve got to look at one or two positions because of Carl and Amado being away on international duty but most of the guys that played last weekend will play again. I don’t like changing the side if I don’t have to.”

• Missing Guevara could cause a hiccup in the TFC attack, one that scored three goals in a game just four times in 2008.

• “I wish [Guevara] wasn’t going away next week with the Honduran national team,” said Carver. “He’s very technical; he’s a clever player. I wanted him to play higher up the field today, because when we came here last year, he played too deep, and they gave us all sorts of problems. He’s going to be more effective in that final third. Now he has guys to play with and combine with.”

• Carver ran out goalkeeper Stefan Frei for his professional debut, and while he was beaten by the two wonder strikes from Arnaud, he made two saves is being credited with the win.

• “I am almost certain that Stefan will start in goal,” said Carver. “I looked at the three goalkeepers very closely ahead of the opening match. Stefan stood out in preseason and he was ahead of Greg Sutton because Greg picked up a groin strain and also had a dislocated finger so that knocked him back about 10 days in training. The pleasing thing is that … the competiton is very healthy.”

• In its first season, TFC lost the first four games in club history, before reeling off back-to-back victories. A year ago, it took the Reds until the third game for a victory – though that started a six-game unbeaten run.

• “It’s night and day from the first game we ever played until now. The squad is strong. We have good depth now, and we have guys here who want to win,” Brennan said. “To win the first game is something that we wanted to do … to get the three points was great for us.”

Source: Click Here



TFC supporters gear up for Crew
March 26, 2009, 7:15 AM
Filed under: Columbus Crew, North End Elite, Red Patch Boys, Toronto FC, Usector

As an estimated 2,500 red-clad Toronto FC fans prepared themselves for Saturday’s pilgrimage south for a Major League Soccer match against the Columbus Crew, the cities’ two political leaders exchanged good-natured jabs.

“I didn’t like Toronto FC last year, and I don’t like them now,” Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman said yesterday, while rededicating a street adjacent to 22,555-seat Crew Stadium as Champions Way in recognition of the team’s 2008 MLS Cup victory.

While TFC have been a box-office smash at home, the third-year MLS franchise has yet to make the playoffs or beat the Crew, their rival in the annual three-game regular-season Trillium Cup competition.

Last year, the Crew went 1-0-2 against TFC to claim the honour — a sore point with Toronto Mayor David Miller, who said he and his Columbus counterpart will make another gentleman’s wager ahead of Saturday’s game.

“That was embarrassing and appalling last year,” Miller said of losing the 2008 bet. “I had to wear their ugly yellow shirt and take photos of the Cup in the [TFC] stadium … that is the last time that is going to happen.”

TFC supporters are abuzz about the early play of the team and its key off-season acquisition, forward Dwayne De Rosario, who was born and raised in Scarborough and began his professional career with the Toronto Lynx of the United Soccer Leagues.

De Rosario, who was a selected to the MLS all-star squad for a third consecutive season last year, was traded to Toronto in December for defender Julius James and allocation money. He made an immediate impact in setting up two goals in Toronto’s opening 3-2 win at Kansas City last weekend.

“It is a great feeling to see the support soccer is getting in Toronto from those days when I played with the Lynx,” De Rosario said. “My hat goes off to the thousands of people who will be driving all day and night just to see our game [Saturday]. Hopefully, we will get a result this year and make the drive home more enjoyable.”

Red Patch Boys supporters’ club president Jack DePoe is confident this year’s 680-kilometre road trip will draw equal to — or surpass — last year’s numbers of 2,500 Toronto fans. He said that 200 TFC fans attended last weekend’s game in Kansas City.

“Everyone in the Red Patch Boys are in a state of euphoria right now about soccer and the new season, and we are going down to take that stadium over this weekend,” he said. “When we chant ‘This is our house’ at their stadium, it will be true.”

Source: Click Here



TFC loses two to int’l play for CLB game
March 25, 2009, 9:13 AM
Filed under: Amado Guevara, Carl Robinson, Columbus Crew, FIFA, Toronto FC

Two bubbles burst for Toronto FC this week, one at BMO Field with the protective winter roof deflated, the other in John Carver’s lineup with two key deletions for Saturday’s game in Columbus.

The team’s chances of duplicating last Saturday’s emotional season-opening road win in Kansas City took a hit with two-goal hero Amado Guevara and the savvy Carl Robinson leaving for respective World Cup games with Honduras and Wales. The loss of the midfielders is the kind of major inconvenience that contributed to TFC’s troubles in gaining early-season traction in its first two MLS seasons.

But coach Carver is not as worried this year, with the MLS becoming more sympathetic to all its clubs’ international plight with regard to the schedule. Carver also has last weekend’s 3-2 victory to build on and the chance to audition some other players who already have made it hard for him to pick a starting 11.

“It’s only two players at the moment, which is a big change from last year,” Carver said yesterday at BMO. “The good thing is the league has shown common sense and we’re very grateful. They’ve given us an option of when we want to play (around certain World Cup qualifiers) or given us a weekend off from playing.

“We chose to play this weekend, because further down the line, there will be more of our internationals away. And we’ve also started (the MLS season) a week earlier. So they’re coming around to my way of thinking. But we appreciate their support.”

Pablo Vitti, who sat out last Saturday in favour of defensive specialist rookie Sam Cronin, likely will play beside Cronin against the Crew, the defending league champions.

“We have to get on with it,” Carver said of the smudged lineup. “I’m not going to cry. Columbus will have a couple of guys missing as well, so it should be evenly matched.”

The Crew has three absentees, Frankie Hejduk (USA), Alejandro Moreno (Venezuela) and Duncan Oughton (New Zealand), but league MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto will be giving Toronto fits.

“We have to be mindful of him,” TFC’s Canadian sparkplug Dwayne De Rosario warned. “I think our defenders can handle him, but it’s a real step up from Kansas City.

“It would have been nice to see a player of (Guevara’s) calibre keep that momentum going on our team. But he has a bigger deal coming up to represent his country. It’s sad to see him go, but that just makes guys want to step up a little bit more to fill the positions and prove themselves.

“The strength of this team right now is that we have some young guys mixed with some veterans. They’re learning very fast.”

Carver had a tough call in going with rookie Stefan Frei in goal, but lingering problems from a dislocated finger by veteran Greg Sutton sealed the decision.

GREAT JOB

“I don’t think anyone would have been able to stop the two goals (K.C.) did score,” De Rosario said of Frei. “There were some low ones, but he didn’t give up any rebounds. It was a lot to ask to start the season.

“Sam did a great job out wide. He hasn’t played that position all pre-season, but did fantastic.”

Cronin, who was playing for Wake Forest University only a few months ago, rewarded Carver’s faith, while taking his cues from Robinson.

“Carl took me under his wing,” Cronin said. “He told me not to try too many things early to take myself out of the game and the game would come to me. As the season goes on, I can have more of an impact in each match.”

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Canadian invasion 2.0 set for March 28
March 2, 2009, 8:31 AM
Filed under: Columbus Crew, North End Elite, Red Patch Boys, Toronto FC, Usector

The Columbus Crew’s F.O. gave the Toronto supporter’s groups a cut-off date of Feb 28 to request tickets for the March 28 game between the Crew and TFC.

Although not the season opener for Toronto, the game has been targeted to be the biggest organized road trip of the year for each of the major TFC groups. Although Toronto won’t match the 2,100 that travelled to C-bus last March, this year’s trip will still be the second largest self-financed trip by supporters for a MLS regular season game.

The known numbers are:

Red Patch Boys – 665
U-Sector – 183
North End Elite – 87

Total of SGs: 935

Additionally, a private company has been selling a bus package for the past couple weeks and there will be other smaller groups making the trip down. All total the estimated size of T.O.’s travel section will be about 1,200–enough to once again fill the entire south end of Crew Stadium.

Although I appreciate that many MLS fans are tired of hearing about Toronto’s support, it is significant that there are still that many fans willing to spend about $250 each to travel 7-hours by bus to watch a team that has yet to seriously challenge for the playoffs. So much for the novelty wearing off.

Last year the Toronto trip received some bad press, with one T.O. fan being arrested for urinating against a fence (that famously was facing a church–albeit a church 500-yards away). The game was the beginning of a nasty rivalry between the fans of the two teams. Spend 10 minutes on the Crew’s BigSoccer boards and you will read some of the most ill-informed, ignorant anti-Toronto/Canada stuff that you can imagine. You will also see a great deal of TFC fans making equally ignorant and ill-informed statements about Columbus/USA.

The simmering hate — which neither set of fans is willing to admit to. On both sides of the divide you’ll find people trying to pretend that they really don’t care about the other side. It’s a load of crap — boiled over last September when Columbus traveled to Toronto with about 100 supporters. There was an altercation in the parking lot after the game and at least one TFC fan was taken into custody.

No one is advocating violence. However, a little bit of nasty rivalry is good for the game–security at and around the stadiums just needs to know how to handle it.

For instance, at last year’s Columbus invasion” the TFC fans were not provided access to a bathroom. Simply anticipating the large crowd and putting out a couple port-a-potties would have gone a long way to preventing pee-gate.

In Toronto, security forced the Columbus fans out of the stadium while TFC fans were still exiting. Marching 100 people in yellow through the sea of red was bound to cause problems. And it did.

Traveling support is only going to increase in MLS. The league and its teams need to learn how to deal with it better. They need to find the right security balance that allows for the right amount of passion, but also gets everyone home in one piece after the game.

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