Danny dandy in wild first win

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 4:15 PM ET

Danny Dichio had left BMO Field to thunderous cheers when Kevin Goldthwaite scored the winning goal in Toronto FC's 3-1 victory over the Chicago Fire.

But the big Englishman already had soccer's version of a Gordie Howe hat trick -- a goal, a fight and a red card ejection -- under his jersey.

History will record that Dichio's goal -- in the 24th minute of play -- was the first Major League Soccer marker for TFC and it ended a drought 384 minutes.

History also will record that, exactly 10 minutes later, Dichio was sent off after a scrap with Chicago goalkeeper Matt Pickens.

That, too, was a first for TFC, all part of the expansion franchise's first win following four shutout defeats.

Among the other firsts was the first streaker, who was collared by police before he could bare his goods on the pitch; the first projectile thrown (and then about 15,000 more after TFC's ill-advised promotion to give away round-seat cushions to every fan); and the first fan banned for trying to join TFC players in a post-game celebration.

But it was the team's first red card -- for Dichio's punchup with Pickens -- that sent the 20,041 fans into a frenzy of boos and other epithets not suitable for a family newspaper.

Dichio admitted to losing his temper, but felt the penalty was undeserved.

"I went up after a high ball in the box and I managed to get my head on it and the goalkeeper just lashed out at me," he said.

"He swung his leg at my knee. I had a previous knee injury and I thought it was deliberate. I just lost my temper and went after him."

Referee Silviu Petrescu immediately signalled a foul on Dichio but inexplicably nabbed Chicago midfielder Diego Gutierrez for the same punishment, letting Pickens off scott-free.

TFC coach Mo Johnston said he thought the call was wrong on both sides.

"I am not allowed to say too much," he said. "But as anyone could see on the big screen I don't think it was the right call."

That, however, was the only complaint Johnston had about the match.

"I don't want to overstate what we did," he said. "It was a long time coming but I always knew that when we did score the floodgates would open."

Johnston praised Goldthwaite for his goal in the 51st minute after Chicago's Chris Rolfe tied it in the 36th minute.

Johnston also couldn't help but point out that the game's final goal came from Maurice Edu, TFC's first-round draft pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft.

"I never had any doubt that he could play at this level," he said. "It was especially pleasing because he was off three months (with a tear in his pelvic bone."

Johnston said he's close to adding another international. wouldn't reveal his identity, though he did say the player will arrive tomorrow.


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