Toronto FC, United play to thrilling draw

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:12 PM ET

Maybe Toronto FC should have given Dwayne De Rosario that cheque he was after.

The club's all-time leading goal-scorer skewered his former club, netting a hat trick to lift D.C. United to an improbable 3-3 draw with the Reds on Saturday night.

Toronto, in search of its first road victory of the season, was up a man for almost the entire game thanks to the ejection of D.C. keeper Bill Hamid, but De Rosario took advantage of TFC's usual defensive lapses to punish his hometown club. De Rosario almost scored a fourth in the final minute, but Stefan Frei forced him to shoot wide.

TFC was lucky just to escape with a point. Despite a huge possession advantage, the team looked useless offensively in the first half (the shots were 6-5 for D.C., 3-1 on target through 45 minutes).

Though the Reds looked far more organized in the latter half, two mistakes by defender Andy Iro proved costly.

Iro brutally let a ball go through him and straight to De Rosario for his second of the match to tie the game and then after TFC had taken an improbable late 3-2 lead, Iro took down a D.C. player in the box, allowing De Rosario to complete the hat trick on a penalty kick.

It was a wild game and one the Reds will not be able to take many positives from, aside from the play of newcomers Eric Avila and Peri Marosevic.

TFC head coach Aron Winter elected to start Avila, who made his debut and in the process became the 36th player to suit up for Toronto, tying New York¹s MLS record for players used in a season.

Avila made an instant impact, drawing Hamid into no man's land and a horrible mistake in the opening minutes.

Hamid barreled into Avila who went flying in spectacular fashion and the officials quickly showed Hamid a red card. The young 'keeper had allowed just a single goal in his previous three outings.

Instead of taking advantage of the lucky break, TFC looked passive, allowing De Rosario to carve its defence.

The former Toronto star hammered a right-footed blast in the 19th minute, beating Stefan Frei who managed to get a piece.

De Rosario scored the game-winner last month against New York shortly after being discarded by the Red Bulls - who acquired him from Toronto earlier in the season - and scored a pair against San Jose, his first MLS side, last week. He has also struck at opportune moments in the past against his other former club, the Houston Dynamo.

That goal was the low-light of a dismal first half for the Reds. Toronto held possession for 66% of that time, but rarely threatened. The team was particularly poor sending crosses into the box.

But Marosevic equalized with his second goal in as many games for the Reds since coming over from FC Dallas after Ashtone Morgan finally made a solid cross. Morgan's ball was punched out right to Marosevic, who easily directed it into the open goal.

Iro's first major blunder came in the 64th minute, resulting in De Rosario's prettiest goal of the night.

Iro was supposed to help shore up a Toronto defence that has been devastated by injuries, but instead, he has struggled mightily far too often.

Ironically, it was Julian de Guzman, De Rosario's Canadian international teammate who drew the Reds even in the 70th minute.

De Guzman had scored some pretty goals for Canada, but never for TFC until his long blast sailed in. A considerable part of De Rosario¹s unhappiness in Toronto stemmed from the fact de Guzman's salary dwarfed his own. De Rosario scored 27 times for Toronto, by far the most in club history.

The Reds were lucky the goal held up as the play started while D.C., already a man short, had a substitute rushing to join the play. United coach Ben Olsen was irate and got ejected when his plea for a retake was ignored.

TFC's final goal was almost as gifted as the previous ones. Danny Koevermans found himself uncovered following a Joao Plata corner kick but only got off a weak shot. Steve Cronin, in for Hamid, could not squeeze the shot though, setting up the improbable finish.

Following a defensive breakdown and Frei's latest spectacular stop of the season, Iro made another disastrous play, resulting in a penalty kick.

De Rosario completed the hat trick to give D.C. a fully deserved draw. In fact, United probably deserved better, pressing the Reds up until the final whistle despite being a man short.

Just the latest in a season filled with lowlights for TFC.

 

 


Videos

Photos