De Rosario leads TFC over Seattle
Toronto plays its best game of the early season
It was a ray of hope on a cold, dull, drizzly day.
Two second-half goals, one scored by Dwayne De Rosario and the other set up by the hard-running captain, led Toronto FC to a 2-0 victory over the visiting Seattle Sounders on a wet Sunday afternoon.
The victory improved TFC's record to 2-3 and represented not only the first win over last year's expansion visitors in three tries, but also Toronto's first goals against the day-glo green-clad side.
Seattle, playing its second game in four days after a 2-2 draw at Dallas on Thursday, fell to 2-2-1.
Goalkeeper Stefan Frei made three key second-half saves in the Toronto net to preserve the win.
"The main thing was this game we were looking to create chances, and that's something we did exceptionally well," De Rosario told CBC Sports. "I'm ever so pleased with the way the guys came, from the first minute to the last."
This was doubtless the best game of the early season by a TFC side that has been pretty heavily rebuilt under new coach Preki.
And it featured an excellent second-half defensive effort that kept Seattle star Freddie Ljungberg from causing his regular trouble.
When Seattle did break through, Frei was able to stand tall, especially on a major challenge by Nathan Sturgis early in the second 45 minutes that could have changed the game.
"Stefan continues to show his class," De Rosario said. "He kept us in this game and made some crucial saves for us at important moments. My hat is off to him."
A little help
De Rosario's opening goal came off a play that inadvertently involved referee Jorge Gonzalez, who was hit with a shot while standing in the Seattle 18-yard box.
The ball changed direction and wound up at the feet of the Sounders' Osvaldo Alonso, who seemed startled by the gift. As he worked out what to do with it, De Rosario took it away, dribbled one step and fired a low, searching ball towards the far post.
Keeper Kasey Keller was able to get no more than a finger on the shot and it went in for the Toronto captain's fifth goal of the season.
Almost 20 minutes later the Sounder defence made another bad error, this one a misplay at midfield by fullback Tyrone Marshall that sprang De Rosario down the right side on a two on one. Drawing the lone defender towards him, the Toronto-raised star put a pretty pass over to a charging O'Brian White who converted with the left foot for 2-0.
That was the sixth TFC goal of the season and first by someone other than the captain.
Sloppy, rough first half
TFC defenders opened the game leading with their feet rather than using their heads and wound up with two early yellow cards.
Martin Saric came in hard on a Sounder for his third booking of the season (two more would mean an automatic suspension) and just minutes later Maksim Usanov drew one for a similar infraction.
It was shortly afterwards that the turn of play began to favour the Reds, who moved the ball into Seattle territory and kept it there for many minutes.
Unfortunately, a lineup still learning to play together spent much of its time relying on individual attacks rather than supporting each other on offence and many an optimistic idea went for nought because there weren't other white shirts around.
Seattle took its first booking late in the half when Sanna Nyassi encroached on a free kick just outside the Sounders' 18-yard box. That gave Toronto's Raivis Hscanovics another try, but he put a disappointing left-footed effort right off Nyassi, who this time hadn't moved an inch.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid lost to Toronto for the first time in his MLS career going back to his days with Columbus. Coming in, he had amassed four wins and four draws.