TFC gets well-earned draw

GARETH WHEELER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:03 PM ET

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Toronto FC ended its pre-season campaign with a hard-fought 2-2 draw with DC United Saturday night in the finale of the Carolina Challenge Cup.

The Reds had a 2-1 first half lead and held on for the draw despite the first half sending off of Mikael Yourassowsky. Toronto’s left-back picked up two cautions in the span of a minute, leaving head coach Aron Winter’s side with 10-men for 53 minutes.

“I’m proud of the result,”said Winter. “DC have a good team, and (going down to 10 men) was very tough so I compliment the boys.”

DC United opened the scoring in the 12th minute through their prized off-season acquisition, Charlie Davies. Toronto FC midfielder Nathan Sturgis gave away the ball cheaply in possession in the middle of the park. Sturgis couldn’t recover and DC United’s Chris Pontius did well to find Davies open to his right. The American international took a touch and blasted over the left shoulder of goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

The Reds fought back valiantly, led by their inspirational captain, Dwayne De Rosario. In the 19th minute, in typical De Rosario fashion, the forward made something out of nothing. De Rosario found space down the right flank but was pressed into the corner with two men on him. De Rosario created space on his own and crossed in the direction of Gianluca Zavarise at the top of the box. Dax McCarty clumsily took down Zavarise inside the box and the match official pointed to the spot.

De Rosario stepped up and finished what he started, putting his penalty into the top of the net, past a familiar foe; former teammate, 43-year old Pat Onstad. De Rosario had fun with Onstad after the goal, telling him he should have known where he was going.

The match was De Rosario?s first at the Carolina Challenge Cup as the forward has been taking care of a right leg injury.

“It felt good to get my legs back under me and to play in a match,” said De Rosario. “I’m getting my game back to be ready for next week.”

Toronto FC was gifted a second by some poor DC United defending. In the 28th minute, goalkeeper Stefan Frei cleared the ball deep, straight down the middle of the park. The thirrd overall pick from this years MLS SuperDraft, Perry Kitchen made a meal of the long ball.

Maicon Santos over-powered the rookie at the top of the box, and slotted home the go-ahead marker. It will never go down as a goal of Aron Winter’s liking, but the ugly ones count too.

Yourassowsky’s ejection killed any momentum Toronto had gained. In the 36th minute, Yourassowsky took down Andy Najar, drawing his first yellow. And just a minute later in similar fashion, Yourassowsky pulled down Pontius, ending his day.

Winter re-organized his back-line at half time, introducing Adrian Cann to the proceedings. Cann joined the team in Charleston Friday night after a weeklong ill-advised hold out. Instead of resurrecting the partnership with Nana Attakora at centre-back, Winter put Cann on the left, leaving Ty Harden in the middle.

In the 62nd minute, DC United manufactured the equalizer down Cann’s left side. Santino Quaranta broke into the Toronto FC box and found Joseph Ngwenya inside the six-yard box. The former Houston Dynamo striker’s finish was academic; an easy tally for his sixth of the pre-season.

The draw gave DC United the Carolina Challenge Cup Championship.

Toronto FC kicks off their fifth season next Saturday in Vancouver against the expansion Whitecaps. The match with be the first in MLS for the Whitecaps franchise.


Videos

Photos