TFC get Bun-buried

STEVEN SANDOR, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:16 PM ET

There was a Canadian hero at Community America Ball Park.

Too bad for Toronto FC, it was the lone Canuck in the game not wearing their red uniform.

Hamilton, Ont.-born Teal Bunbury, son of former Canadian national-teamer Alex Bunbury, got the deciding goal as the Kansas City Wizards beat Toronto FC 1-0 Saturday night.

Bunbury got some charity from Toronto FC defender Adrian Cann. TFC’s normally reliable centre back made an awful decision to head a ball backwards towards his own goal; Bunbury wasted no time getting to the ball, and headed it towards goal. TFC keeper Stefan Frei, who wasn’t expecting to face a sudden attempt on goal, was well out of his goal. He leapt and got a hand to the ball, but he didn’t get enough on it to push it over the bar. He could only watch as the ball looped up into the air and bounced over the line.

It was a mistake that led to a fluky goal — a fitting decider for a game played at half speed in 32 C heat, with the humidity. Three hours before game time, the Reds weren’t even sure how much of their own equipment they would have for the game. Their gear missed their Friday flight to Kansas City, and the majority of their stuff didn’t arrive until 5 p.m. local time, a little more than two hours before kickoff.

And it was clear that Preki, TFC’s coach, managed last night’s loss with an eye toward’s Tuesday’s date in Honduras with CD Motagua for the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League qualifier. The Reds are nursing a 1-0 lead.

Preki left his two leading goal scorers, Dwayne De Rosario and Chad Barrett, on the bench to start the game.

Both were introduced at the 57-minute mark; the plan was to allow them just enough time to have an impact on the game but give them enough of a rest so they can log major minutes on Tuesday.

But it was Bunbury who stole what was a dire game.

It took 42 minutes for the Reds to come up with a moment of offensive inspiration. Maicon Santos, who had the ball on the right wing, swung a cross for Mista. The Spaniard, making his first MLS start, snuck in between two Wizards defenders. He was able to control the ball and got a dangerous shot away, but Wizards keeper Jimmy Nielsen was able to dive to his right, extend his arms, and get enough on the shot to deflect it wide of goal.

The problem was that it was the only meaningful save Nielsen needed to make all night.

“Right now, the goals and chances aren’t coming so easy to us, especially the elite players,” Preki said after the game.

“The encouraging thing is we really don’t give up many chances in any of our games.”

The Reds have only won once on the road so far this season, and have played uninspired soccer in their past two games away from BMO Field.

But, if sleepwalking through this loss allows the Reds to save enough energy to play an inspired game on the road Tuesday in Honduras in what is one of the biggest games in this franchise’s history, the gambles to rest key players will have been worth it.


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