March 31, 2007 Toronto FC beat Charleston Battery in Carolina Challenge Cup (from MLSnet.com)

03/31/2007 11:38PM
Toronto FC put three on Battery
By Andrew Mosier / Special to MLSnet.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. Fueled by the club's first-ever win last Wednesday against the New York Red Bulls in the Carolina Challenge Cup, Toronto FC came into its final preseason tuneup against tournament hosts Charleston Battery exuding confidence. The convincing 3-0 win over the Battery can do nothing but stoke the fire for the expansion team's opener next week in Los Angeles.

Toronto played without several would-be starters, including Carl Robinson and Conor Casey. Robinson will join his new club in Toronto at the beginning of the week, and Casey trained over the week but did not play in any of the three games in Charleston.

Toronto struck early, when Alecko Eskandarian took a Ronnie O'Brien pass on the right flank and hit a 35-yard blast with his left foot to give Toronto the lead with unquestionably the best goal of the tournament.

The early goal took the wind out of the USL First Division side coming off a much-deserved 1-1 draw with Houston. Fielding several reserves and trialists, the Battery offered little competition for Mo Johnston's Toronto side.

Abbe Ibrahim doubled the score in the 35th minute off an Eskandarian corner kick. The driven ball somehow found its way through the Battery's six-yard box, falling at Ibrahim's feet. Ibrahim easily slotted home the second goal of the game.

The game may be Ibrahim's last for a while, as visa issues will not allow the Togolese into Canada. For the time being, he will remain in the U.S. and meet up with his Toronto teammates for games which will make earning a starting spot all that much more difficult, despite a strong preseason. With three consecutive road games, Toronto will have another month to sort things out before the club's home opener.

After a stern talking to at halftime, the Battery did manage to pick up its game in the second half. Charleston's Byron Alvarez repeatedly found space on the right flank, and twice served up opportune balls, but the Battery could not capitalize. Ian Fuller missed badly from inside the penalty area just after halftime, and Toronto goalkeeper Greg Sutton saved easily on a Michael Todd blast.

Edson Buddle put the game away in the 73rd minute after taking the ball just outside of the center circle, beating two Battery defenders, and slamming home a right-footed blast from just inside the penalty box.

TORONTO FC 3, CHARLESTON BATTERY 0

Toronto: Greg Sutton, Andrew Boyens, Adam Braz (Tyler Hemming 89), Jim Brennan, Chris Pozniak, Ronnie O'Brien, Richard Asante (Miguel Canizales 56), Richard Mulrooney, Abbe Ibrahim (Jose Cancela 53), Alecko Eskandarian, Edson Buddle (Joey Melo 88).

Charleston: Keith Wiggans, Jordan Hughes, Brandon Curran, Chris Gores, Lee Sandwina, Lazo Alavanja, Ian Bennett (Luke Vercollone 75), Ian Fuller (Armand Romero 46), Mike Richardson (Luis Rolko 79), Newton Sterling (Michael Todd 46), Byron Alvarez (Aarin King 72).

Scoring Summary:
TOR Eskandarian 3
TOR Ibrahim 35
TOR Buddle 73

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