Shorthanded Toronto FC falls to Chivas
An A+ for effort, but a failing F grade for Toronto FC.
Despite missing nine players, the Canadian club put forth a valiant effort in a 3-1 loss to Chivas USA Saturday afternoon at BMO Field.
The defeat was the second in a row for Toronto — they lost 2-1 to Chivas last weekend in Los Angeles — and the Canadian club has only one win in their last 11 games.
Three of Toronto's starting four defenders — captain Jim Brennan (Canada), Marvell Wynne (United States) and Tyrone Marshall (Jamaica) — missed Saturday's contest because they were away on international duty with their national teams.
The Canadian club was also without starting goalkeeper Greg Sutton (Canada), defender Julius James (Trinidad and Tobago), midfielders Carl Robinson (Wales) and Amado Guevara (Honduras), and forwards Carlos Ruiz (Honduras) and Jarrod Smith (New Zealand).
Calling it the "the toughest situation" of his 25-year career in soccer, Toronto coach John Carver said "it was inevitable" that his team would lose in light of so many absences, but was proud of the effort from his players.
"I thought they gave everything they had. Unfortunately, sometimes when you give that much effort it's still not good enough," Carver admitted.
MLS turned down Toronto's request to postpone the game, but the league did allow the club to sign three players to emergency one-game contracts.
Defenders Diaz Kambere (from the Vancouver Whitecaps of the USL First Division), Tim Regan (who currently serves as a scout for Toronto) and Ricky Titus (from the Italia Shooters of the semi-pro Canadian Soccer League) all started against Chivas.
Carver felt Kambere made mistakes that led to two of the goals Toronto conceded.
"I can't fault him too much because he's come in today and tried his best," Carver said.
Velez loses composure
Carver also had harsh words for defender Marco Velez, the team's acting captain, who was ejected for hitting a Chivas player in retaliation.
"I gave him the captaincy to be our leader, and he let me down and he's let the team down," Carver said.
The Toronto coach heaped praise on Rohan Ricketts, saying that the English midfielder "worked his socks off."
With a 7-11-5 record and 26 points, Toronto remains in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with seven games left in Major League Soccer's regular season and their playoff hopes fading fast.
Carver admitted Toronto "has a mountain to climb" but still thinks it can clinch post-season berth.
"We're not giving up," Carver said. "The way things are in this league is that anybody can beat anybody else. We won't give up until it's mathetmatically impossible to qualify for the playoffs."
TFC takes early lead
Toronto took the lead after 30 minutes when Ricketts expertly collected a cross from Chad Barrett and slipped a pass across the six-yard box to Tyler Rosenlund who easily slotted the ball home.
It was the first goal in six appearances this season for the 21-year-old native of Vancouver.
Barrett nearly made it 2-0 just minutes later but Chivas goalkeeper Zach Thornton made a great point-blank save to deny the Toronto forward.
Chivas equalized just before the end of the half. Daniel Paladini easily skipped past Velez, who made little effort to close him down, before blasting a shot by goalkeeper Brian Edwards from just outside the box.
Tensions boiled over at the end of the half when Chivas forward Alecko Eskandarian and Velez were issued red cards for violent play. Eskandarian, a former Toronto player, elbowed Velez while going for a high ball, and the defender retaliated with a slap to the face.
Edwards made a strong save on Ante Razov early in the second half, and was then let off the hook when an unmarked Paladini ballooned his rebound attempt over the net.
Perfect pass puts Chivas ahead
Chivas would not be denied and they took the lead in the 58th minute. Razov fed a perfect pass to Jonathan Bornstein who glided into the box and beat Edwards with a low shot just inside the post.
Carver said that was the turning point of the game because Bornstein's goal came seconds after Barrett was denied a penalty decision.
"We didn't get the penalty and they went down the other end and scored to tie it 1-1," Carver explained.
Thornton had to be replaced by Dan Kennedy with 17 minutes left after he collided with a Toronto player during a goalmouth scramble. The play seemed harmless enough, but Thornton was carried off the field on a stretcher.
The medical attendants dropped the stretcher at one point, which drew a loud chorus of heckles and laughter from Toronto fans who believed Thornton was faking an injury.
It was Chivas who had the last laugh, though, as Razov added a goal in injury time to seal the win.
Toronto's next game is at home on Sept. 13 against the Columbus Crew (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 3:30 p.m. ET).