|David Estrada, of the Seattle Sounders battles Torsten Frings, of Toronto FC, at CenturyLink Field on March 17, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. Frings would limp off the pitch after making the tackle. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images/AFP)
Toronto FC lost twice Saturday night when a David Estrada hat-trick lifted the Seattle Sounders to a convincing 3-1 win in front of 38,709 at CenturyLink Field.
After watching defensive stalwart Torsten Frings limp off the pitch midway through the first-half, the Reds surrendered most of the energy they began the match with, as well as three points to start the 2012 Major League Soccer season.
Estrada registered the Sounders opener in the 17th minute after receiving a low cross from Alvaro Fernandez from the left side of the penalty area. Following confusion inside the box, Estrada tucked his second chance effort beneath a scrambling Milos Kocic to make it 1-0.
The 24-year-old would double the home side's advantage just after halftime when a well-threaded through-ball from Marc Burch beat a scrambling Toronto defence that looked lost with rookie Aron Maund on to replace the injured Frings.
Estrada tucked his one-on-one effort into the far corner past an onrushing Kocic to make it 2-0 before the hour mark.
The Reds would restore their confidence in the 62nd minute after Ryan Johnson broke free on the right flank. After cutting inside, Johnson unleashed a left-footed curler that struck the far post before crossing the goal line to cut the lead in half.
The goal was Johnson's third in as many matches after the Jamaican international scored twice in two Champions League quarterfinal games against the Galaxy.
But TFC's confidence was short-lived as Estrada completed his hat-trick a minute after the Reds fought back to within reach.
Completing a one-two with Fernandez inside the area, the 24-year-old beat Kocic at his near post to put the game out of reach.
The loss dropped Toronto's opening day MLS record to 1-5-0 all-time ... Head coach Aron Winter made four changes to the lineup that he began with three days earlier in a Champions League second leg against the Galaxy ... Winter elected to start without Designated Players Danny Koevermans and Julian de Guzman ... Wing back Logan Emory made his first appearance for Toronto after joining the Reds last week ... Toronto hosts the San Jose Earthquakes next Saturday at BMO Field in the club's 2012 home opener.