Boneheaded plays help TFC

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

TORONTO -- With help from Lady Luck and some boneheaded plays by members of the Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC earned its first win of the season, 2-1 in front of 21,978 at BMO Field.

TFC took advantage of a spotty performance by Philadelphia 'keeper Chris Seitz and a silly red card by captain Danny Califf to pull out the win.

Dwayne De Rosario's second strike of the game -- off a free kick -- electrified the crowd, but it was another pivotal play that came much earlier that turned the game.

TFC came out tepid in the first.

"The team was nervous," head coach Preki Radosavljevic said. "We couldn't find the width of the field," he said, referring to the odd sight of just striker Dwayne De Rosario up front.

Fellow forward Nick LaBrocca hung back with the rest of the squad but oddly, midfielder Julian de Guzman spent some time farther up the field than usual, something he said he didn't feel all that comfortable doing.

That led to a slow game early and little offensive flair from the home side, which was in a defensive shell.

Things changed when Philly's Califf channelled his inner Broad Street Bully and felled Julian de Guzman with a flying elbow. That earned the defender a red card in the 38th minute and, in a sense, levelled the playing field for TFC.

Toronto responded, with a little help from the struggling Seitz. Seitz was unable to handle the seemingly harmless resulting free kick from Dwayne De Rosario. The ball slipped through his fingers and into the net. Seitz had made an even more unbelievable gaffe against D.C. United last weekend when he dropped the ball in the box to a wide open United player.

Philadelphia assistant coach John Hackwolt said his team still has full confidence in Seitz, who is young and still learning.

The goal could have opened the floodgates for TFC, which after all, was playing with an extra man, but that didn't happen.

Instead, the Union drew even in first-half injury time when defender Jordan Harvey beat Maxsim Usanov cleanly after being fed a tremendous looping pass by Roger Torres. Toronto goaltender Stefan Frei had no chance and the score was suddenly knotted.

Usanov and the struggling Martin Saric, both defenders, were replaced by forwards Chad Barrett and O'Brian White to start the second half. Both Barrett and White looked strong.

Both sides had chances before Seitz erred again by taking out a streaking White, leading to a penalty kick. De Rosario, the Man of the Match, blasted the free kick past diving Seitz -- who guessed right but couldn't handle the blistering drive -- restoring TFC's lead in the 82nd minute.

E-mail ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


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