June 27, 2012
TFC give Impact a beatdown in Montreal
By RICHARD MAUNTAH, QMI Agency
After a 10-game stretch to open the Major League Soccer season that could only be described as an absolute disaster, Toronto FC needed to look for building blocks.
They may have found some in Montreal on Wednesday.
TFC played their best half of soccer this season as part of their most complete game so far, dominating the Montreal Impact 3-0 at Saputo Stadium.
They have certainly improved since Paul Mariner took over the reigns from the departed Aaron Winter, but their defence still had work to do after blowing a 3-1 lead at Houston and then a 2-0 lead at home against New England.
But the collective performance of the defenders Wednesday indicated that the lessons were learned from those two late collapses.
The Impact had reason to be confident going into the match, having filled the net four times against Seattle and Houston in their first two matches at the renovated Saputo since relocating from their temporary digs at Olympic Stadium. They were also introducing high-priced designated player Marco Di Vaio, a former Italian national team member who saw time with no fewer than 10 clubs in his Serie A career, most recently with Bologna.
And the Impact did have possession for much of the game, particularly in the first few minutes when the ball was primarily in Toronto’s half. TFC did have chances, including one by Ryan Johnson off a free kick in the first minute. Danny Koevermans also had a couple of good opportunities from range in the opening 45 minutes.
Toronto opened the scoring in the 52nd minute after Johnson was fouled by Shavar Thomas 25 yards from the middle of the goal. Torsten Frings blasted a free kick just to the right of the wall that Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts had no chance at. It was Frings’ first goal in MLS play.
Instead of Toronto FC playing to protect the lead, they continued to push forward and look for counter-attack opportunities and found one in the 72nd minute, when substitute Nick Soolsma intercepted a pass about 30 yards from goal and fed a perfect pass to Johnson who chipped it from the edge of the box, finding the net inside the right post to give Toronto a 2-0 lead.
They would cap off the scoring six minutes later when Ashtone Morgan came down the left side and fed a soft pass to Koevermans who tapped it into the net from a yard out.
Montreal did push to get something going late but there were only a few anxious moments for goalkeeper Milos Kocic, who only needed to make two saves to preserve the shutout.
Toronto FC (2-10-2) return to BMO Field on Saturday to face the New York Red Bulls.