Wall of shame for TFC

STEVEN SANDOR, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:59 AM ET

Julian De Guzman jumped when he should have been standing still.

Toronto FC’s designated player didn’t hold his spot in the wall, and chose to jump as Jeff Larentowicz struck his free kick. The Colorado Rapids midfielder’s shot went directly through the spot in the wall JDG vacated, and nestled behind keeper Stefan Frei for the deciding goal in Colorado’s 3-1 win Sunday.

While De Guzman wears the goat horns for this one, the truth is that Toronto FC would have been fortunate to come out of the altitude of Colorado with a draw. TFC’s lone goal came on a Dwayne De Rosario penalty kick, and the Reds didn’t generate a shot on goal in open play until a Maksim Usanov lob was saved — in the 90th minute.

De Rosario has scored all four of Toronto FC’s goals this season, a troubling indication of this team’s shocking lack of scoring depth.

Up to the JDG mistake in the 71st minute, the game was even thanks to a pair of penalty kicks.

A slip from Toronto FC central defender Adrian Cann, playing in his second game for the club, came at a critical moment.

After Toronto FC had been successful in turning the first 22 minutes of its game in the altitude of Colorado into a slow-paced midfield slugfest, Cann slipped and fell as Rapids speedster Omar Cummings ran at him in the penalty area. With Cann on the ground, Cummings rolled the ball against him, leading to a penalty kick. Referee Ricardo Salazar ruled that the ball rolled on his arm, even though replays suggested otherwise. But when a player is helpless on the ground, he rarely gets the benefit of the doubt.

Conor Casey, who played with Toronto FC in its first month of existence, hit a cheeky chip shot over Reds keeper Stefan Frei on the ensuing penalty.

Problem was, after Colorado took the lead, TFC could not come out of its defence-first, slow-down-the-pace game plan.

And, in the few instances when a Toronto striker looked like he was about to get clear, Marvell Wynne, acquired by the Rapids from Toronto days before the opening of the season, showed off the speed that made him a former No. 1 overall SuperDraft pick. Twice he was able to pursue and close down TFC striker Chad Barrett, and he looked comfortable in the central defence role that he never got the chance to try in Toronto.

Slow the pace

From the outset it was clear that the Reds were going to try to keep things compact in a very tight 4-4-2 formation, looking to slow the pace of the game, to not allow Colorado to use its fresh legs and comfort in altitude to its advantage.

TFC finally showed a spark in the second half; the Reds earned a penalty 12 minutes after the restart — a slick pass from Barrett found Sam Cronin, back in the lineup after spending the previous two rooted to the subs’ bench, alone in the penalty area. Rapids’ keeper Matt Pickens took Cronin down with a two-footed tackle, and someone could have made a case for a red card. In any event, De Rosario coolly converted the penalty.

But TFC couldn’t build on that play.

Larentowicz’s marker made it 2-1 and, with TFC run off its feet, right back Usanov dragged Casey to the ground in the 84th minute, leading to another penalty kick. Instead of chipping, Casey scored with a low drive to Frei’s right.

steven.sandor@sunmedia.ca


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