Tag Archive | "Sutton"

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Reds misfire at home

Posted on 19 July 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC could only draw visiting San Jose Earthquakes 0-0 on Saturday, the fifth straight game at home they’ve failed to win. Kansas City, Vancouver Whitecaps and friendly opponents Pachuca and Independiente have all avoided defeat at BMO Field in the last month.

It was a listless performance by the two youngest teams in Major League Soccer thanks to a hot, humid afternoon at Exhibition Place stifling what little creative play was on offer.

Toronto boss John Carver made a couple of changes from the squad that fell 2-1 in Chicago last week, with youngsters Tyler Rosenlund and Abdus Ibrahim coming into the starting lineup. San Jose, coached by assistant Ian Russell after Frank Yallop’s suspension last week, brought new signings Francisco Lima, Scott Sealy and Darren Huckerby straight into the team.

As early as the ninth minute, Toronto had a “goal” ruled out long after the whistle had gone on an apparent offside by Ibrahim. Replays showed that the assistant to referee Paul Ward was mistaken.

It was midfield ace Amado Guevara who had the best chance of the first half, blazing over an open goal when Quakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon could only punch Marvell Wynne’s low cross into the Honduran’s path. Guevara was doing his best to bring the game to life with neat passing and a touch of flair but couldn’t keep the game from going into the break scoreless.

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The muggy conditions ensured that the second half started just as the first had ended. The game’s major talking point came in the 69th minute when Ibrahim was hauled down in the 18-yard-box trying to get on the end of a cross. It looked like typical penalty area argy-bargy on second viewing, but Toronto were happy for the rare opportunity to test Cannon.

Guevara had hardly put a foot wrong all game but with the weight of the stadium on his shoulders, his effort from the spot was blocked with relative ease. The shot had power but was almost straight at the waiting Cannon, reminiscent of Collin Samuel’s wasted penalty in the season opener at Columbus, Toronto’s only previous trip to the spot all season.

Jim Cunningham was brought on seconds later to try and bring some bite to the Toronto attack, but it was too late for the 99-goal man to make an impact on the game.

With crucial matches approaching in the Canadian Championship and MLS in the coming weeks, John Carver will have to bring some bite into the Toronto attack. Tuesday brings the visit of Montreal Impact, with a win vital for TFC to claim the Voyageurs Cup and a spot in CONCACAF Champions League qualifying.

TFC may have become overconfident at home having gone undefeated at fortress BMO in MLS play, but with losses in friendly action and the Canadian Championship and two straight 0-0 draws in the league, fans in Toronto have forgotten what its like to see their team win. With more away matches than home ties scheduled for the remainder of the season, more firepower is needed fast before the Reds will have to bid their playoff hopes goodbye.

Match Facts

San Jose Earthquakes (3-9-5) vs. Toronto FC (6-6-4)
July 19, 2008 — BMO Field

Scoring Summary:
San Jose Earthquakes — Joe Cannon, James Riley, Ryan Cochrane, Jason Hernandez, Eric Denton, Francisco Lima (Kelly Gray 63), Ramiro Corrales, Darren Huckerby (Kei Kamara 64), Ronnie O’Brien, Ryan Johnson, Scott Sealy (John Cunliffe 94+).

Substitutes Not Used: Ned Grabavoy, Ivan Guerrero, David Monsalves, Shea Salinas

Toronto FC — Greg Sutton, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Marco Velez, Jim Brennan, Rohan Ricketts, Carl Robinson, Tyler Rosenlund (Jeff Cunningham 70), Laurent Robert, Amado Guevara, Abdus Ibrahim.

Substitutes Not Used: Nana Attakora-Gyan, Brian Edwards, Gabe Gala, Tyler Hemming, Julius James, Jarrod Smith

Misconduct Summary:
TOR — Abdus Ibrahim (caution; Delaying a Restart) 18
SJ — Jason Hernandez (caution; Pushing, Holding) 26

Referee: Paul Ward
Referee’s Assistants: Joe Fletcher; Daniel Belleau
4th official: Steven DePiero
time of game: 1:53
attendance: 20,264
weather: Partly Cloudy -and- 84 degrees

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Reeling from D.C. trip, TFC travel to Montreal

Posted on 26 May 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Just three days after twice giving up the lead in a 3-2 loss in Washington, Toronto FC will visit Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo on Tuesday night to kick off the 2008 Nutrilite Canadian Championship.

In the 13th minute at RFK Stadium, Danny Dichio scored with a close-range header from Jim Brennan’s cross, grabbing a goal from TFC’s first shot on target. D.C. struck back just four minutes before the half, with Gonzalo Peralta getting on the end of Devon McTavish’s flick-on at the far post. Peralta stooped low and headed in from close range to seemingly settle things up before halftime.

Dichio had other ideas, however, and just minutes later he played a give-and-go with Amado Guevara before sending a low shot into the bottom left corner of Zach Wells’ goal to stun the home crowd.

Toronto held on in the second half until the 70th minute, when a marauding Santino Quaranta was felled by a clumsy shove in the area by Marvell Wynne. Jaime Moreno stepped up to take the resulting penalty and calmly slotted past Greg Sutton, a familiar sight for TFC fans who saw the Bolivian tie the MLS all-time scoring charts with a penalty at BMO Field last season.

Quaranta would be credited with another assist just two minutes later as D.C. finally took the lead. Quaranta, who played with D.C. earlier in his career before returning for the 2008 season, unleashed a blast from outside the area that Greg Sutton couldn’t hold onto. The ball fell to the feet of the onrushing Luciano Emilio and the 2007 Golden Boot winner wasted no time in finishing past Sutton.

Tom Soehn and the United bench erupted in a mixture of relief and excitement, while it was difficult to see Toronto getting anything from the match. Dichio’s positional play and cool finishing were not as effective when TFC had to fight a side trying to preserve a lead, with Jeff Cunningham and Jarrod Smith making late cameos to try and rescue a point.

It was not to be, and the club’s six-match unbeaten run, coupled with Sutton’s clean sheet streak, came to an end. The stadium has so far proved unwelcoming for Toronto, as the young side have yet gain a point from RFK in their history.

“They have had a good result tonight,” TFC head coach John Carver told MLSNet. “I can see them going on a run now. Tom [Soehn] is a good coach, a good manager, and [runs] a good organization. People have to be patient with him… he has too many good players for him to be at the bottom of the league.”

Carver refused to blame Sutton for the mistake. “Greg has been outstanding for our football club,” he told reporters. “He has been one of the reasons why we have so many points and have won so many games lately… take the mistake away from it, he still had a great night. I said to him as soon as the final whistle blew, ‘don’t let that worry you, it’s about us picking ourselves up. We have a great run…’ we have now got to go on another run and we have a huge game on Tuesday.”

TFC will have picked themselves up for the trip to Montreal, where they’ll play l’Impact in the first match of the inaugural Canadian Championship. Fellow United Soccer Leagues Division One side Vancouver Whitecaps will join them in the three-team round robin tournament.

Last week’s stadium opener, a regular-season USL clash between Montreal and Vancouver, ended 0-0 in a result that will not affect Canadian Championship standings. The draw means that Toronto enter Saputo knowing that the game’s opening goal will be the first in stadium history. Having conceded that honour at BMO Field to Kansas City’s Eddie Johnson last season, entering the history books at Saputo would be a welcome tonic for TFC fans.

The two sides have started the season with contrasting fortunes, as Toronto have racked up four wins while Montreal are sitting at just 7 points from six games. Don’t let their early season form fool you into thinking TFC will have it easy — the club have never won against USL opposition, having drawn or lost in pre- and post-season friendlies against the likes of Charleston Battery and Portland Timbers.

For their part, Montreal have yet to play an MLS side, having been left out of the U.S. Open Cup along with Canadian USL sides from Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton throughout the last decade.

The winner of the Canadian Championship will gain entry into the 2008-2009 CONCACAF Champions League and be awarded the Voyageurs Cup, the trophy handed to the top professional Canadian soccer franchise since 2002. Traditionally, Canadian supporters the Voyageurs used USL-1 regular season results to determine the winner, a format that has seen Montreal win all six titles to date. The Canadian Soccer Association has since been loaned the prize and will award it to the Canadian champions, a label Montreal that will be desperate to keep, especially if it means getting one over on their traditional sporting rivals in Toronto.

The motivation will be high because it’s a different championship for us,” Montreal head coach Nick De Santis told MontrealImpact.com. “There is also a pride factor for us to play an MLS team and to do so at home.”

Two former TFC players are a part of the Impact roster for 2008, with right back Adam Braz joined by Cristian Nuñez, the young midfielder who didn’t see any first team action in Toronto’s expansion season last year.

For his part, Braz was looking forward to Tuesday’s match. “It’s always special when you play your former team, but more importantly, it’s a big game for our club,” he said in an interview with the club’s website. “It’s a huge event for the Impact, and we want to represent Canada at the CONCACAF Champions League. You always want to be the best, so that should give everyone added incentive to show that we are capable to beat [TFC].”

Greg Sutton came the other way ahead of the 2007 season after protracted negotiations between TFC and the Impact but only played eight games last season before suffering a concussion at Gold Cup training with Canada. He’s since been in fine form for Toronto in 2008 and should relish the chance to notch a clean sheet against his former club.

Midfielders Maurice Edu and Amado Guevara will not travel with TFC, having been called up to national team duty this week. Edu will play with the United States in a friendly at Wembley Stadium against host side England and LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham.

With international call-ups and the upcoming spate of games in a short time, Toronto’s depth will be tested. Carver has expressed his reservations about a squad rotation system, but the likes of Cunningham and midfielders Tyler Rosenlund and Kevin Harmse will likely be called into action at some point in the coming weeks.

Following the Montreal trip, Toronto welcome a Beckham-less Galaxy to BMO Field on Saturday. Their next Canadian Championship matches come in a home-and-away series against Vancouver on Canada Day and July 8th, respectively. Toronto will close out the tournament, and hope to lift the trophy, in front of their home fans on July 22nd against Montreal.

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TFC and Crew in stalemate

Posted on 18 May 2008 by Scott Ferguson

MLS leaders Columbus Crew stole a 0-0 draw from BMO Field on Saturday afternoon, preserving both their spot at the top of the standings and Toronto FC’s unbeaten home record in 2008.

TFC head coach John Carver named an unchanged squad from Red Bull New York’s visit a fortnight ago, with Danny Dichio supported in the attack by the attacking midfield trident of Amado Guevara, Laurent Robert and Rohan Ricketts.

The only obvious change was the switch of Robert and Ricketts, with each attacking from their opposite wing: Ricketts found himself marauding down the left flank while Robert played deeper on the right.

American internationals Maurice Edu and Marvell Wynne continued their own runs in the TFC first team ahead of a trip to Beijing with the U.S. Olympic team.

The sun was shining on Lake Ontario as Toronto started the stronger of the two sides. Danny Dichio found Amado Guevara with a lay-off in the fifth minute with the Honduran lashing an acrobatic volley at Will Hesmer’s goal, but the shot was straight at the Columbus ‘keeper.

Robbie Rogers had a chance for Columbus in the 19th minute, wrong-footing Marvell Wynne and sending a weak shot past Greg Sutton. Tyrone Marshall was on hand on the line, however, to clear the ball emphatically.

Robert and Guevara each had more than one chance to send an inswinging corner into Hesmer’s penalty area, but the fierce wind at Exhibition Place made it difficult for Toronto to find the head of Dichio or centerbacks Tyrone Marshall and Marco Vélez.

With the teams swapping sides in the second half, TFC finally had the chance to attack the south end, Toronto’s own curva sud with the highest concentration of support. Tyrone Marshall found himself clear on the left side of the penalty area after a scramble following Robert’s 52nd minute free kick, but the defender’s cross-shot flew harmlessly across Hesmer’s goal and out of danger.

The best chance of the game arrived just ahead of the hour-mark, however, when Robert cut in from the right side and found some space outside the Crew penalty area. The Frenchman lined up a low shot that looked to have beaten Hesmer, but the powerful strike cannoned off the base of the far post and back into play.

With Dichio unable to make a difference and struggling to hold the ball up in the windy conditions, Carver replaced his fellow Englishman with veteran MLS striker Jeff Cunningham in the 63rd minute. The former Columbus hitman was prolific in his seven seasons with the Crew but has been restricted to late cameo appearances so far in 2008 with Toronto.

Cunningham’s pace quickly threatened to make the difference, with the American leading a late charge with Guevara and Ricketts just minutes after his introduction. Guevara collected Cunningham’s low pass and laid it off to Ricketts, but the English winger’s left-footed strike was straight at Hesmer.

For his part, Crew midfielder-forward Guillermo Barros-Schelotto was growing increasingly frustated with perceived injustices by the officials and the Toronto FC crowd. The Argentine was pelted with streamers on all four corners of the pitch throughout the match as he lined up to take set pieces for the Crew.

The tension showed as Barros-Schelotto grew increasingly theatric, finally receiving a booking late in the second half for simulation. Crew boss Sigi Schmid was quick to replace the former Boca Juniors star with Nicolas Hernandez in stoppage time.

The 0-0 marks the end of a five-game winning streak for Columbus but preserves an unbeaten run for both sides, the longest and second-longest in the league so far this season.t

“You got to give them credit,” Toronto midfielder Carl Robinson told the club’s website after the game. “They… got what I think they wanted to get; we couldn’t get what we wanted to get… but, you know, it’s important we took something out of the game, we took a point out of the game.”

Schmid maintained that his team were up for all three points, however:

“It’s just one of those games,” he told Toronto’s media relations department. “Toronto’s playing well, and they’re playing well at home. You know, for us, it’s been a while since we’ve played on turf, and that always changes the game a little bit. It was a little windy… was important for us to play to zero in the back and see if we could maybe grab a goal on the road, and I thought we came close a couple of times.”

D.C. United’s visit on Wednesday night will test Toronto’s home record further, with a return tie against United scheduled for next Saturday.

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Soaring Crew visit BMO

Posted on 15 May 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC and Columbus Crew will renew hostilities in the Trillium Cup on Saturday, with Toronto getting their chance to host their newfound rivals after a 2-0 loss in Columbus to begin the season on March 29th.

Since then, both sides have been in top form early this season after a momentary hiccup. Both sides lost their next match but Columbus have since recorded five straight wins while Toronto have gone on to a 3-1-0 record.

They’re not alone, however, with six of the seven Eastern Conference sides sitting at .500 or above. A win for Toronto on Saturday would put them five points back of Columbus at the league summit but with a game in hand and restore hope of winning the inaugural Trillium Cup.

The competition, which will be decided on the teams’ three regular-season encounters this season, will conclude later this season at BMO Field. If Columbus win the upcoming clash they’ll have an unassailable lead in the Trillium Cup standings despite facing another trip to Toronto on September 13th.

A win for the Crew would also represent Toronto’s first home defeat of the season. The draw with New York two weeks ago ruined an 100% record at BMO Field but John Carver’s men have yet to taste defeat since their home opener in April.

If the wheels are going to come off Columbus’ excellent league run, BMO Field may be the place for it. The typically buoyant home crowd will be in full voice on Saturday, with the burgeoning rivalry between both sets of fans exacerbated by the large amounts of Toronto fans who made the trip to Columbus earlier this year.

Injuries certainly haven’t helped Crew manager Sigi Schmid, with Duncan Oughton, Adam Moffat and Stefan Miglioranzi all sidelined for Saturday’s encounter.

Once again, Toronto aren’t reporting any injuries, a remarkable turnaround from last season and a testament to the physical training methods of the club’s new fitness coach John Winsper.

Joining the former Newcastle physio last week were staff members Nick Dasovic and Chris Cummins, reported on ASN last month and just recently made official by TFC.

One player that will hope to make a difference on the turf at BMO is Robbie Rogers, the most recent MLS Player of the Week based on his two goals in Columbus’ 3-2 win in San Jose last weekend. Argentine midfielder-forward Guillermo Barros-Schelotto was also on target for Schmid’s men, who will travel to Toronto as the team to beat in MLS.

With a clean injury list, Toronto’s selection dilemma lies in who to start up front. Danny Dichio has a goal to his credit this season but has been lonely up front in a 4-5-1 formation, and with four more games in two weeks following Saturday’s clash, Carver may be looking to reap the benefits of squad rotation.

Jeff Cunningham and Andrea Lombardo have been restricted to substitute appearances this season but could see starting time sooner rather than later, with Toronto balancing MLS play with their first Canada Cup appearance in Montreal on the 27th.

Amado Guevara, Rohan Ricketts and Laurent Robert are likely to reprise their roles as an attacking midfield trident for Toronto. None of the trio were TFC players yet during the club’s trip to Columbus in March.

Another new arrival has been defender Olivier Tébily, but the Ivorian has seen his playing time blocked by the stunning turnaround in Marco Vélez’s performances at the heart of Toronto’s back line. The Puerto Rican scored a free header against New York, with his own upturn in fortunes helping the club to a goals-against record of just 1 in their three home matches so far in 2008.

Between the sticks

Greg Sutton is set to start his fifth straight match for the club, having recovered from the trauma of being passed over in the early-season trip to Columbus in favour of draft pick Brian Edwards. The two straight clean sheets he recorded in the run-up to New York’s vist early this month pushed him past Kenny Stamatopoulos as the all-time shutout leader in Toronto’s short existence.

Crew stopper Will Hesmer

Will Hesmer has started every match for the Crew this season, conceding nine goals but making the difference on numerous occasions for his side. The 26-year-old made several important stops, including a penalty save, against Toronto in March.

A win against Columbus would improve Toronto’s home record to 3-1-0 ahead of another revenge mission next week, the visit of D.C. United to BMO Field in the last of a five-game home stand for Toronto. United were 4-1 winners at RFK Stadium in the second game of Toronto’s season, a match that marked not only Laurent Robert’s debut but Maurice Edu’s late consolation goal, a strike that seems to have marked a turning point for TFC this season.

Toronto FC vs. Columbus will kick off at 4 PM EST on CBC in Canada. Visit here for the Crew’s perspective.

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