Maicon Santos Named New Captain & Alan Gordon Scores Against Former Team
Less than 24 hours after the shocking trade of captain Dwayne De Rosario, Toronto FC took to the pitch against Chivas USA at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon.
Perhaps distracted by the trade of their captain, Toronto had a slow start to the match, but the Reds gathered steam as the game progressed. Toronto had a ball go off the post, a goal called back for an offside, missed an empty net and in the end had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Chivas.
Prior to the match, coach Aron Winter named Maicon Santos as the new captain of TFC with goalkeeper Stefan Frei as the alternate captain. This is the first time Maicon has been captain in his career and he was excited yet humbled by the decision.
"It’s good. It’s a great feeling,” said Maicon. “But everyone is a captain over here. Everyone is allowed to say something. Being captain is just a part of the team."
Alan Gordon scored the lone goal for Toronto, his first as a member of the Reds and, ironically, it came against his former club.
“Goals feel good, period,” said Gordon. “But to do it against my former team, being so soon that I was there, it was kind of sweet.”
Gordon, who was acquired in a preseason trade with Chivas in exchange for Nick LaBrocca, was clearly the best player on the field for TFC. Prior to scoring his goal he knocked a header off the post and he set up Maicon in the second half for a glorious chance.
In the second half, Julian de Guzman made his season debut after having knee surgery in the offseason. He played the entire second half and felt good about his minutes.
“The first early runs of the game I could feel the physical side of things needed to be worked on,” said de Guzman.
“That’ll come naturally but I was very happy and pleased to get 45 minutes without any pain. The knee feels great and I think with a good night’s rest I can start a fresh new week and hopefully I can work my way to 90 minutes game fit.”
End of ‘De-Ro’ Era
Fans and media were still talking about the trade that sent ‘De Ro’ to the New York Red Bulls in exchange for midfielder Tony Tchani and defender Danleigh Borman. Despite arriving to the team late Friday evening, both featured in the Reds starting lineup and played well in their debuts after a shaky start. TFC also received a first round pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft as part of the deal.
TFC coach Aron Winter addresses media after the match
After the game, coach Aron Winter admitted he did not want to discuss the De Rosario trade but felt he needed to clear the air after reading comments by the former captain in a Toronto newspaper that morning.
“I don’t want to speak a lot about Dwayne, because it’s happened, but I want to be clear, because in the newspaper everybody is going to get their own story,” said Winter.
“It looks like that TFC has not treated him well, and it’s not true; we have treated him well. And we’ve given him a good offer. At the end he was not happy because he wants to be a DP (designated player). We have tried everything to make him a DP, but at the end, no. It was like that at a certain moment, he was also not happy and he asked to be traded. And that’s the real story. And I’m not going to say bad things about it. He has made his own choice. It was his decision.”
Whatever the real story is, this comes as little solace to Toronto sports fans that once again witnessed another star player leave the city.
Javier Martina (left) gets ready to kick the ball towards the Chivas goal.
The first game of the post-‘De Ro’ era did not start well for the Reds as they found themselves down 1-0 in the third minute.
The pairing of Nana Attakora and Adrian Cann is usually solid in the centre back positions but both were caught flat-footed as Chivas opened the scoring. The ball was chipped between Attakora’s legs and Chivas captain Alejandro Moreno pushed past Cann to lift the ball over the top of Frei who slid out to challenge.
Attakora was making his return to the lineup after missing the previous game with a minor knee injury.
After the first goal, Toronto settled down in the new-look lineup and started to create chances towards the Chivas goal. In the 25th minute, Martina sent in a cross to Gordon at the edge of the left crease. Gordon leapt in the air but his header slammed off the left upright.
Gordon made up for the miss in the 36th minute when he headed in a free kick by Jacob Peterson to tie the game at 1-1. Peterson’s set piece was hit with pace and perfectly placed to an unmarked Gordon who flicked the ball past Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy.
“It was a brilliant ball by Peterson,” said Gordon. “He just put it right on my head, and I just did the best I could to get it on frame, and luckily it went in. So I’m happy to get my first goal here, and try to contribute on that side of things.
Just before the end of the first half, TFC thought they had scored the go-ahead goal only to be called offside by a linesman. Maicon snuck in behind a defender to tip a pass by Javier Martina into the net. TFC players were understandably upset and Winter talked to the referee as well, but to no avail, as a result, the first half ended in a 1-1 tie. Take a look at the video and judge for yourself – was he offside?
In the 60th minute, TFC had another great chance to go ahead. Gordon dribbled through three Chivas players in the midfield and then put in a perfectly timed through ball to Maicon who broke away behind the defence.
There was no doubt about him being offside this time around. Maicon charged in from the right with Kennedy closing in to challenge him. Alen Stevanovic was wide open on the left but Maicon did well to get around the keeper but before he could fire into the empty net, he was clipped from behind by former Red Andrew Boyens and the ball was knocked away. Maicon should have passed to the open Stevanovic who was clearly upset afterwards.
Although Toronto missed a couple of great chances, they were lucky themselves as Frei made six saves in the second half to preserve the tie.
Two players made their debuts for TFC on Saturday as newly signed Jamaican defender came into the game in the 65th minute while midfielder Joao Plata was subbed in at the 70th minute. Plata, an Ecuadorian native, was selected 49th overall in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.
TFC will now head out West as they take on the San Jose Earthquakes next Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium with kickoff at 10:30pm.
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