TFC dominates Honduran club

Chad Barrett got the lone goal in Toronto's FC victory against Club Motagua at BMO Field in Toronto...

Chad Barrett got the lone goal in Toronto's FC victory against Club Motagua at BMO Field in Toronto on July 27, 2010. (STAN BEHAL/QMI Agency)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:46 AM ET

In its short history, TFC has not toyed with many opponents the way it did with CD Motagua on Tuesday night in a 1-0 victory in front of 18,891 at BMO Field.

But whether that dominance will be enough won’t be known until the teams meet again in Honduras next Tuesday to close this two-leg preliminary CONCACAF Champions League series.

The Reds should have blown out of the water a slow-reacting, defensively dismal Motagua side that had not played a game in months.

Instead, the team’s offence continued its troubling run of tepid success, consistently shooting high on quality chances (the shots on goal favoured Toronto 13-4). Toronto has scored just six times in its last nine contests, though none of those prior matches featured half as many chances for the Reds.

“The goals are coming really hard for us,” TFC head coach Preki said.

“We’re happy that we didn’t give up a goal but obviously we’re real disappointed that we didn’t score a second one because we had plenty of opportunities.”

The scoreline flattered the visitors, who showed little inclination to play offence until Georgie Welcome sent Javier Portillo in all alone in the 85th minute. Portillo could not control the ball, with a yawning net beckoning and TFC’s slim lead stood up.

TFC caught breaks when an 11th-minute Motagua goal was wiped out by an offside call and when another was stricken in the 62nd minute when Welcome was clearly ahead of the play.

The Reds put the pressure on Motagua, consistently poking holes in Motagua’s defence in the opening 45 minutes and, to a lesser extent, in the second half.

O’Brian White found himself alone on ’keeper Donaldo Morales in the 19th minute, but Ivan Guerrero just got a piece of the ball to deflect it wide.

A minute later, White flicked a ball through to Reds captain Dwayne De Rosario, who teed up Chad Barrett perfectly for TFC’s first Champions League goal.

The team was held off the board by the Puerto Rico Islanders in last year’s tournament.

TFC wasted excellent performances by De Rosario and Julian de Guzman — playing one of his best games as a member of the club.

The Reds should have had at least one other goal, as Motagua’s defence was sliced and diced like Swiss cheese, leading to lamenting from TFC’s players.

“After the end of the game we were all disappointed because you want more (goals), but at the same time, you’ve got to take three points first,” said midfielder Joseph Nane, who played well.

Preki started an interesting lineup. Forwards White and Jacob Peterson returned to the lineup along with Nane and defender Maksim Usanov, while usual starters Dan Gargan, Nick LaBrocca and Maicon Santos began on the bench, along with Mista.

Santos, Mista and Gargan later subbed on.

The team now has two important matches in a row, starting with Saturday’s MLS game in Kansas City.

After that, it’s a not-so-friendly trip to Honduras and a chance to advance out of the preliminary round for the first time.

The team will need a lot better finishing touch if it intends to do so. But by holding Motagua off the board, at least it holds its destiny in its own hands. Road goals are the tiebreaker in this round, so if TFC scores in Honduras, Motagua would need three of its own to advance.

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


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