TFC gets first win over Crew

Ryan Wolstat, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:32 AM ET

Toronto FC snapped two embarrassing streaks in impressive fashion Saturday night in Columbus.

Not only did the Reds end a 14-game road winless streak with a first road victory of the season, the team also defeated the Crew for the first time in franchise history.

TFC took home the Trillium Cup for the first time from its nemesis (the squads tied 1-1 at BMO Field earlier this season) with a solid 4-2 win thanks to goals from Nick Soolsma, Ryan Johnson, Julian de Guzman and Danny Koevermans.

Few saw the result coming even though Columbus was coming off a blowout loss and Toronto, off two invaluable weeks of rest.

The Crew led the East while the Reds sat in the basement heading in, but there was no question who was the better side on this night.

“Great moment for us to come out and finally show our true colours,” de Guzman told Goltv afterwards.

“One of the best performances since TFC’s been around.”

Buoyed by its loyal fans who made the trip to Ohio, Toronto brought it against Columbus, which coming in, had eight wins against just one loss at home in 13 games.

TFC stunned its hosts in the 21st minute. After building up pressure on an Eric Avila corner kick, the Reds regained control and captain Torsten Frings blasted one in towards the box. The shot deflected right to Soolsma — who inexplicably had been benched for weeks despite decent play — and the Dutchman made no mistake.

Soolsma rewarded head coach Aron Winter for inserting him back in the lineup for Peri Marosevic.

The Reds kept the pressure on in the first half, soundly outplaying the Crew until Johnson expertly headed in a Joao Plata cross late to make it 2-0.

Toronto had six shots on goal to just one for Columbus in the first half.

Even if the Major League Soccer schedule has gone poorer than expected for the Reds, who have won just five times, the team at least can add a first Trillium Cup to its third straight Canadian championship (Voyageurs Cup).

The Reds got keeper Stefan Frei back from injury for the first time in a month (briefly at least) and Frings was able to return to his preferred midfield position after filling in on the backline of late.

Frei made a few stellar stops, while Frings and de Guzman were particularly steady in the middle of the park.

Avila brought his usual creativity to his attacking midfielder role. When those three are on the field at the same time comprising the midfield, TFC has looked competitive this season which bodes well for the future.

On the negative side for Toronto, Frei’s return to the lineup could be a short-lived one.

With a crucial CONCACAF match looming in Mexico on Wednesday, Frei’s status is in question after he took an awful shot in a 62nd-minute collision. Frei was helped off looking seriously injured and exited for Milos Kocic, who has played well in the bulk of his action this season. The team quickly labelled the injury a right hip contusion and Frei watched the final minutes while on crutches.

Immediately following his exit, Tommy Heinemann beat Kocic to cut the lead in half.

Heinemann had joined the action in place of Emilio Renteria, who also was injured in the collision with Frei.

After Avila sent a shot off the bar to start the second half, Columbus looked much improved, but De Guzman iced it in the 82nd minute with a long strike.

Andreas Mendoza brought Columbus back within one in the 87th minute off of a clever set-up from Heinemann.

The officials awarded six minutes of extra time after the physical encounter and Koevermans collected his fourth goal in six games off a beautiful long pass from de Guzman to finish the scoring.


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