Toronto FC Lose Critical Match 1-0 to Last-Place DC United

Toronto FC Captain Dwayne De Rosario
(centre) holds off DC United’s
Stephen King (right) while battling
for the loose ball.
In a game that had huge playoff implications, Toronto FC put forth a flat effort against the lowly DC United in a 1-0 loss at BMO Field.
It’s true the team is battling injuries and were playing their third game in a week, but with a playoff spot slipping further away, Toronto needed a better effort against the last-place team, especially at home. Simply put, DCU were the better team on this day and the Reds were outplayed for majority of the match.
After the game Coach Preki seemed to be making excuses and talked about how unfair the scheduling was for his team in comparison to DC United.
“We really didn’t have any legs in us,” said Preki. “I thought we looked tired and I don’t really like to make excuses but third game of the week…and the other team is waiting for you whole week, I think who’s scheduling these games is got to look at this real hard because I’m really, really disappointed…it is what it is…we looked really tired all over the place. You can’t say one guy had a really good game.”
The mood in the dressing room after the game was sombre to say the least but nobody was willing to make any excuses for the poor effort.
“It’s excuses, everyone has a tough schedule,” said TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei when told of Coach Preki’s post-game comments. “Those are just excuses, we’re professionals, we need to be able to deal with that and we need to do better than we did today that’s for sure.”
“We all knew what we had to do today, whether we’re tired or not, we still need to come out and perform and we didn’t do that,” said midfielder Dan Gargan.
“I thought we could have left a little more on the field from every guy. It’s 90 minutes and we’re playing the worst team in the league. We don’t have shots on goal, we’re getting beat to balls in the first half, we’re not really pressuring them like we should be at home.”
Instead of making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history TFC are in danger of missing the post-season for a fourth straight year. With six games left to play, four of them on the
road, Toronto sit five points behind San Jose Earthquakes, who have played two fewer games, for the eighth and final playoff spot. The climb up the standings will be tough for a team with a poor road record and may have to rely on the help of other teams if they hope to make the playoffs.

No Offence
Toronto has had a tough time scoring goals of late, having only scored one goal in their past six league matches. On Saturday, the offensive woes continued as the Reds hit a post in the opening minutes. In the 6th minute, Captain Dwayne De Rosario battled through four defenders but his strike hit the upright and bounced out of play.
The momentum quickly shifted in United’s favour as they settled into the match and slowly took over the game routinely winning loose balls and pushing forward against a tired TFC team.

As the game wore on it seemed that Toronto had stopped playing and were simply going through the motions.

In the 38th minute, defender Adrian Cann was unable to head the ball forward and had the ball stolen away by Australian Danny Allsopp. Allsopp passed the ball into the middle but found himself open on the return pass but Frei came out of his goal to make a huge save to keep the game scoreless.
Aside from the one chance early on, TFC had trouble finding space to create scoring chances. United would routinely collapse on any TFC player with the ball, eliminating any room for them to manoeuvre and often resulting in a turnover.
United had another great opportunity in the early stages of the second half when Andy Najar got behind the defence and was all alone in the box. With Frei coming out to challenge, Najar seemed to panic and passed diagonally ahead to Captain Santino Quaranta. The pass was a little too hard as Quaranta had to slide in order to get the ball, but his attempt hit the side netting, missing the open goal. Quranata was in disbelief with the pass he received from his teammate who probably should have finished the play himself.
DC United celebrate Julius James’
goal late in the second half.
The pace slowed considerably until DC capitalized in the 81st minute when defender and former Red, Julius James, punished his old club off a free kick. James gathered in a loose ball inside the box before quickly turning and then firing the ball past Frei into the far side of the net for his first goal of the year.
Toronto picked up their play and finally showed some desperation in the dying minutes. In the 82nd minute, Mista dribbled ball deep in the box but his shot deflected to substitute O’Brian White. White who had his back turned, headed the ball behind him but DC keeper Troy Perkins managed to get a hand on the ball to keep it out.
The Reds had another chance a short while later when White chested ball down in the box for Nick LaBrocca, but his shot sailed just wide of the far post.
TFC did scramble and press forward late in the game but even with the four minutes of added time it wasn’t enough – a case of too little, too late for the Reds. TFC fans were clearly not happy with the result as boos rained down from the crowd once the whistled sounded. United, on the other hand, were all smiles on the strength of a well deserved 1-0 win on the road.
“We need to do our best to start picking up results now, not ties,” said defender Nana Attakora.
“We need to start winning games. You could see our fans here today were really disappointed and they showed it and they have all the right to. We know and it’s just unfortunate how we put ourselves in this position.”
Toronto will now shift their focus to CONCACAF Champions League action when they head back on the road to play Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. The Reds will return to league play when they travel to Houston to take on the Dynamo on Saturday.

Game Notes:

FC (7-10-7) Stefan Frei, Nana Attakora, Nick Garcia, Daivis Hsanovics (Nick LaBrocca – 45’), Julian de Guzman, Dwayne De Rosario, Mista, Dan Gargan, Martin Saric (Joseph Nane – 62’), Maicon Santos (O’Brian White – 69’)
Subs not used: Jon Conway, Ty Harden, Jacob Peterson, Doniel Henry

DC United (5-16-3)
Jordan Graye, Dejan Jakovic, Julius James, Jed Zayner, Stephen King, Kurt Morsink, Andy Najar (Carey Talley – 90’), Santino Quaranta, Danny Allsopp, Pablo Hernandez (Branko Boskovic – 72’)
Subs not used: Chase Harrison, Devon McTavish, Jamie Moreno, Clyde Simms

Scoring Summary: 
DC: Julius James 81’

Misconduct Summary:
TOR: Julian de Guzman (Reckless Tackle) 53’
Referee: Michael Kennedy
Assistants: Paul Scott, Chris Strickland
4th Official: Geoff Gamble
Attendance: 20,395
Weather: Clear, 68 degrees
Time of Game: 1:52 

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Photos courtesy of Annandi Merhai of Devi Designs

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