Reds get their mojo back

Toronto FC's Amado Guevara (left) and Chad Barrett celebrate Guevara's goal against Chivas USA at...

Toronto FC's Amado Guevara (left) and Chad Barrett celebrate Guevara's goal against Chivas USA at BMO Field on Wednesday. (Sun Media/Alex Urosevic)

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

Everyone was looking for coach John Carver on the pitch, but Toronto FC certainly found its "A" game in the coach's absence.

With Carver watching somewhere from the private boxes at BMO Field, either to try to shake up the team or because he didn't trust himself not to run afoul of officials again, FC won its first home game by toppling previously undefeated Chivas USA 1-0.

"John had his reasons," said assistant Chris Cummins, who ran the show on the field.

But Carver and Cummins had authored a new playbook for the Reds, partly in response to star midfielder Dwayne De Rosario's torn hamstring.

They went with three strikers, Chad Barrett, Danny Dichio and Armado Guevara, the latter scoring the lone goal.

"The most important thing is that we're tied for second place (2-2-2)," Guevara said through an interpreter.

"And Sunday's game (here against Kansas City) gives us a chance to take the lead in the conference."

The 4-3-3 formation put a premium on offence, but the midfield and defence didn't disappoint, with the potent Chivas lineup held to one shot on goal all night.

There were few hints of the late-game jitters that had dogged TFC in a previous loss and tie at BMO and throughout the young season.

"It still seemed like 30 minutes to me," Cummins said of the last few minutes and extra time. "(Goalie) Stefan Frei had an easy night, we'll have to take something off his wages."

Earlier this week Carver appeared very unnerved by events in a loss to Dallas on Sunday in which he was eventually fined for comments about Tim Weyland's officiating.

TFC was considering sending MLS a DVD of its concerns with calls, but Carver thought the best course last night was not to risk further ire of the officials.

Dichio's deserved yellow card for a hard tackle was the only serious incident last night before 19,915 shivering fans, but not before his header provided Guevara enough room to drill it past Zach Thornton for his first goal since scoring twice in Kansas City on opening day.

"We just kept attacking tonight," said midfielder Carl Robinson.

The only changes TFC made late in the game was Fuad Ibrahim for new midfield starter Pablo Vitti and Rohan Ricketts for a cramped up Guevara just before extra time.

Vitti made his presence felt in 23rd minute, blasting a shot from the right side but Thornton was up the task.

"We look at every team we play differently," a coy Cummins said of keeping this lineup together on Sunday or leaving Carver in a new secret hiding place every home game.

"It was a good time to let Danny play 90 minutes (instead of subbing for Barrett), to rest (defender) Kevin Harmse and for Marco Velez to go in (for Harmse).

"We told everyone tonight to go and express themselves, not to take risks, but to pass the ball."

California-based Chivas had given up just two goals in its first five games.


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