Toronto FC wins season opener
Old standbys and new faces propelled Toronto FC to victory Saturday night.
Captain Jim Brennan scored on a brilliant setup from Dwayne De Rosario, and Amado Guevara added a pair of goals to guide Toronto to 3-2 decision over the hometown Kansas City Wizards in the Major League Soccer regular-season opener for both teams.
Saturday's victory was only Toronto's fifth on the road since joining MLS in 2007, and also marked the first time the club won its season opener in three tries.
The goal was the third in a Toronto FC uniform for Brennan, who was the first player signed by the Canadian club before its inaugural MLS season. Fellow Toronto native De Rosario, acquired by the team in an off-season trade with the Houston Dynamo, spread the ball around nicely with his pinpoint passing skills, although he failed to score on a penalty shot late in the game.
Toronto FC coach John Carver gave starts to midfielder Sam Cronin, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft, and goalkeeper Stefan Frei (No. 13 pick overall), who was between the posts instead of veteran Greg Sutton.
Both rookies looked impressive in their debuts, as did veteran Canadian defender Adrian Serioux, another Toronto native who came to the team via a trade with FC Dallas in February.
Glorious scoring chances
Chad Barrett had three glorious scoring chances in the first 20 minutes, but the stocky American forward squandered them all, and it looked as though it would be a long night for Toronto.
Brennan took it upon himself to give the offence a spark, and the veteran Canadian defender broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute. After winning the ball inside his half, Brennan streaked down the left wing and burst into the box after collecting a perfect pass from De Rosario before smashing a powerful shot just inside the post and past Wizards goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
The second half was played at a frenetic pace, with both defences under constant pressure.
Guevara made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute, collecting a chip pass from Carl Robinson and firing a curler from just outside the penalty box into the far corner of the net.
Toronto was in complete control but Davy Arnaud scored on a screamer from 25 yards out just three minutes later to put Kansas City on the scoreboard.
Undaunted, Toronto pressed forward and Guevara bagged his second goal of the game after 62 minutes, scoring on a rebound after Hartman couldn't control a powerful shot from De Rosario.
Again it was Arnaud to the rescue, as the midfielder beat Frei with another powerful shot from 25 yards out with 14 minutes left in regulation.
Toronto had a chance to put the game away in the waning minutes when the Wizards were called for a handball inside their penalty area. But De Rosario blasted his shot high over the net, giving Kansas City a lifeline.
Kansas City furiously pressed for the tying goal, but Toronto's defence held firm and shut out the Wizards the rest of the way.
Toronto visits the MLS champion Columbus Crew on March 28, before hosting Seattle Sounders FC in its home opener on April 4 (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 3:30 p.m. ET).