De Rosario leads TFC over Dynamo

STEVEN SANDOR, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:24 AM ET

Dwayne De Rosario won two MLS Cups in Houston, where he cemented his reputation as one of the best big-game players in league history.

He returned to the Gulf Coast on Saturday and singlehandedly snatched a Reds victory from the jaws of defeat.

The Dynamo dominated Toronto in the first half — and took a deserved 1-0 lead. But two thunderbolts from the right foot of De Rosario — the second coming on the final kick of the game — gave the Reds only their second road win of the season, a 2-1 decision over Houston.

Both goals came in and out of the Houston net as if they were Brandon Morrow fastballs. Both came from 20 yards out. And they gave Nick Dasovic his first win as head coach.

After De Rosario equalized in the second half, the game looked poised to finish in a draw, as both teams seemed to have run out of gas in the Texas heat. But, in the final seconds of injury time, De Rosario got behind veteran defender Eddie Robinson. The Dynamo fullback shoved De Rosario from behind, setting up the dramatic free-kick winner.

This was DeRo’s show, because the Reds opened what was a must-win game in Houston without passion, without purpose.

From the opening kickoff, the Dynamo pinned the Reds deep in their own half, thumping cross after cross after cross into the penalty area. The Dynamo had seven corners before the Reds could even get a shot toward Houston keeper Pat Onstad, who could have watched the first half from the seats. Danny Cruz made run after run up the right side, as TFC couldn’t deal with his speed.

Even though Houston dominated possession in the early going, TFC could have had an opening goal against the run of play.

It took less than 20 minutes for the Dynamo to make the Reds pay. Brad Davis lashed a mean, head-high free kick into the Reds’ penalty area, and Brian Ching scored his seventh of the season, getting enough of his head onto the ball to redirect it past a helpless Stefan Frei in the TFC goal.

It was the kind of goal for which Ching is famous, an ugly, do-whatever-you-can-to-get-it-across-the-line effort in the box, where the big Hawaiian uses his mix of strength and guile to elude markers.

But, in the second half, TFC finally awoke. First, a warning shot: A De Rosario free-kick was headed off the crossbar by Barrett. Minutes later, De Rosario got the equalizer on laser beam from a free-kick.

That was Toronto’s first road goal since July 17, when Barrett scored in Philadelphia.

But, despite the heroics, the reality is that the Reds did not make up any ground on the pack in the race for the playoffs.

The Seattle Sounders thumped the East-leading Columbus Crew to pull themselves into a tie with San Jose for eighth, five points up on the Reds. Colorado retained sixth spot overall by thumping New England 3-0. The Rapids remain six up on the Reds, with a game in hand. De Rosario’s heroics allowed TFC to tread water, not gain ground.

And there are only five games left.


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