TFC comes up empty

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Toronto FC coach John Carver had vowed not to play for a tie in yesterday's season-opening game against the Columbus Crew.

He kept his word.

Unfortunately the Reds didn't play for a win either dropping a 2-0 decision to launch the 2008 Major League Soccer season before 13,843 at Crew Stadium.

Columbus got goals from Adam Moffat in the 26th minute and Alejandro Moreno in the 76th minute.

Carver, however, came out after the game saying that he was proud of the team and thought that it had in fact outplayed the home side.

"I was really proud of how our lads played," he said. "They kept attacking right up to the end."

A lot of that steam was dissipated after Colin Samuel was awarded a penalty kick and fired the ball into Crew goalkeeper Will Hesmer's midsection in the 45th minute.

Carver said he second guessed himself on the play not giving the chance to Jeff Cunningham, who to that point had played a strong game.

"(Samuel) came to me and said: 'Give me the ball' " Carver said. "When a player has that much confidence you believe in him. The next time maybe I will choose someone else."

It wasn't the only goal that TFC missed in a match that seemed to fall into the Crew's hands without much effort.

TFC captain Jim Brennan, off a set play in front of the Crew goal in the 53rd minute, drove the ball past Hesmer but it was kicked out by midfielder Robbie Rogers.

A replay showed the ball clearly was over the line, but referee Baldomero Toledo, ruled otherwise and wouldn't listen to any debate on his call.

"If that goal is counted the game is 1-1," Brennan said. "It was in without a doubt."

The outcome showed again, however, that TFC suffers from the same lack of scoring touch as it did in its dreadful 2007 rookie season.

And it's something that Carver said he wants to address.

"Everybody is aware that we need more creative players," Carver said.

"We need the kind of player who can get the ball in the back of the net."

With that Carver admitted that no defeat, no matter how tinged with misfortune, is a disappointment.

"Of course I am disappointed and the players are disappointed" he said. " I want them to be disappointed, but I told the lads it wasn't from lack of effort and that when we get back to Toronto we will work from that."

Brennan, too, felt that the team had played well enough to come out of its first game with a point.

"If my goal counts and Colin's goes in, we're 2-2," he said.

A surprise of sorts was that Carver chose to start London, Ont., native Tyler Hemming in midfield beside veteran Carl Robinson.

The 22-year-old, second- year midfielder made some good plays before fellow Canadian Kevin Harmse replaced him in the 65th minute.

"There were a lot of players (including Hemming) who played well and deserve recognition," Carver said without naming anyone in particular.

Toronto is on the road for its next two games against D.C. United and L.A. Galaxy before opening at home against Real Salt Lake on April 19 at BMO Field.


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