TFC given Crew cut

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:49 AM ET

COLUMBUS — The scoresheet didn’t show it, but Toronto FC deserved better.

Though the Columbus Crew had six shots on goal and 10 corner kicks to TFC’s three and one, the 2-0 final in the Major League Soccer opener for both teams flattered the home side.

TFC remains winless against Columbus in 10 tries but, on this occasion, bad luck prevented a draw, which really would have been the just result.

But sports doesn’t work that way and TFC and its new coach, Preki, were left to lament a penalty chance that wasn’t and an obvious infraction that went ignored, leading directly to the Crew’s final goal.

Though loathe to blame the officials, Preki pointed out that a handball inside the box by Columbus defender Andy Iro — who had opened the scoring 29 minutes into the first half — should have resulted in a penalty kick by O’Brian White.

TFC forward Dwayne De Rosario was more forthcoming about his frustration.

“We didn’t get a lot of calls our way,” he said. “Last year, I can remember countless handballs that we got penalized for that they got penalty shots.”

To make things worse, on the second goal, TFC netminder Stefan Frei came out to challenge Danny O’Rourke and the play ended with a Guillermo Barros Schelotto shot in the back of the net.

Frei was convinced the sniper never should have been given the chance to put one home in the 86th minute.

“I got to the ball clearly first and (O’Rourke) just dived in with his cleat up. I don’t know what to say to that,” Frei seethed.

Despite the outcome, Preki and Reds captain Jim Brennan felt the team had nothing to be ashamed of.

“The group played really hard. It’s something that we can build on,” Preki said.

Brennan took exception to the notion that there was, and still remains, a talent divide between the two clubs.

“Close the gap? I don’t think there was a massive gap, was there,” he questioned this questioner.

“We always have a good game against these guys. They’re kind of our bogey team at the moment, we just can’t get one over them.”

Early on, Toronto looked confident with the ball, though De Rosario later admitted things came together more in the final 45 minutes.

But Columbus was able to convert its third corner kick of the half, thrilling the 13,536 on hand.

TFC defender Nana Attakora admitted the team blew the play.

“A miscommunication by us. (We) didn’t know if we should play man-to-man or play zone,” he said.

An understandable occurrence, given the upheaval roster-wise since last season and particularly in recent days. TFC added three new players in the past 48 hours alone.

One of them, midfielder Nick LaBrocca, was singled out by Preki for his strong performance, which contributed to the group’s improved play in the second half.

Before the game, TFC signed defender Dan Gargan who impressed during the pre-season.

White, the Jamaica-born, Toronto-raised striker who missed most of his rookie season due to a knee injury, was one of the best players on the pitch all afternoon, missing a chance that sailed over the net and later, one that grazed the post before staying out.

“There were some good moments. It’s like our second game together up front,” De Rosario said of combining with White. “We created one or two chances that could have been potentially good opportunities that we let slip through.”

ryan.wolstat@sunmedi.ca


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