It was billed as a homecoming for Scarborough's Dwayne De Rosario but Toronto FC played their best defence of the young Major League Soccer season last night to beat league champion Houston Dynamo 1-0.
It marked the second consecutive victory for TFC after opening the season with four losses.
The game's only goal game in the 26th minute on a header by midfielder Andy Welsh.
The goal was the result of a perfect free kick from Ronnie O'Brien, who played in his second game after recovering from a knee injury suffered during the team's first ever practice on BMO's artificial turf.
"I knew Ronnie would put the ball right where it had to be," coach Mo Johnston said. "We were working against a set piece and (Houston) is the best tam in this league so we had to have Andy in good position and he was where he was supposed to be and it worked."
Johnston said that O'Brien still hasn't hit his stride yet and expects more from his star midfielder.
At the other end of the pitch, while Greg Sutton had a solid night in net, it was O'Brien who saved the day off a shot by Ricardo Clark on the goal line.
Johnston said the key to the game was team defence that he has been preaching the past few weeks in practice.
"I am actually more proud of our goals against these past two games than our scoring," Johnston said. "I knew that we had to get tougher in our own end and we have."
The formidable 12th man that TFC players had in the first two home games was just the 11.9th man yesterday as steady rain and cool temperatures at BMO Field kept the many season-ticket holders away.
But the 19,123 fans in attendance did their best to keep up their end of the bargain up by putting pressure on referee Terry Vaughn by booing him every time he called a TFC foul which he did frequently handing TFC 23 fouls - including yellows cards to Eskandarian, Chris Pozniak and Jim Brennan --to Houston's 16.
TFC clearly missed their big man -- Danny Dichio -- in the offensive zone as Houston continually took liberties with the smallish Alecko Eskandarian, who was still feeling the effects of a bruised calf, and his partner Edson Buddle.
Dichio was sitting out a one game red card suspension from Saturday's game.
As for De Rosario, he did get a warm welcome in pre-game ceremonies but was jeered even more lustily after missing early in the first half.
Johnston said that he wanted two of his midfielders to mark De Rosario throughout the match in an attempt to keep him getting a scoring chance or setting up a teammate to score.
"He is a wonderful player," Johnston said. "But we had both Maurice Edu and Carl Robinson on him for 90 minutes. We really limited his play."
When Houston did get scoring chances TFC defenders swarmed in on them, creating a scrappy game in front of their own net.
"We fought for every ball," Johnston said. "That's the way we have to play to win games. Remember (Houston) is the MLS champion and we played them tough the whole game."
Houston out shot the locals 13-7 but couldn't penetrate the wall that Sutton had set up.
Next game for TFC is Saturday at BMO against D.C. United with an unlikely three-game win streak on the line.