Former TFC captain all class

STEVE SANDOR, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:58 PM ET

Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson.

For the New York Red Bulls, the sweetest goal of the four they scored on Saturday was the one not created by a designated player.

Carl Robinson, Toronto FC’s co-captain through its first three seasons, made his first appearance at BMO Field since he was sent to New York before the start of the 2010 campaign for a fourth-round draft pick. The fan favourite came into the game to a large ovation in the 74th minute.

Three minutes later, he got a little payback, scoring the icing-on-the-cake goal on a header after TFC keeper Stefan Frei couldn’t control a cross into the penalty area. Robinson held his head as if he was astonished to score.

But there was no celebration, no fists pumped in the air.

Robinson said he was asked the day before the game what he’d do if he scored at BMO Field, and he answered that he wouldn’t do anything to insult the TFC fans or the organization.

“I wouldn’t celebrate out of respect for the years I had there, for the three great years I had here (in Toronto),” he said. “I didn’t take my shirt off like most players would have.”

His father is also seriously ill, so he’s also emotionally torn, with thoughts going back to his family in the U.K.

And, he was impressed that the fans embraced him on his return.

“It was a great ovation, I appreciated it very much.”

Robinson admitted that his life is very different in New York than with Toronto. With the three superstars on the roster, the team has security guards on its hotel floors when it goes on the road.

But he doesn’t mind being one of the other guys on the team.

“It lifts the other lads,” he said of the three designated players. “They see what the other world-class players do to remain at the top level.”

After the game, one of the first things Robinson did was greet and console TFC’s Joseph Nane, who was credited with an own goal on New York’s second marker. Even though he wears the Red Bull jersey, he still showed he has a little of the TFC captain’s blood still in him.

steven.sandor@sunmedia.ca


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