April 28, 2007 MLS Toronto FC lose 1-0 to Kansas City Wizards (from Globe and Mail)

Brunt: Toronto FC showing signs of life
STEPHEN BRUNT

Globe and Mail Update

TORONTO The same dismal result, but at least it had a different feel.

Four times now Toronto FC has taken the field in its inaugural season in Major League Soccer. Four times they've lost. Four times they have failed to score a goal a league record for futility starting a season.

But Saturday afternoon in the grand opening of BMO Field, a 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Wizards, came the first real hints of what coach Mo Johnston is trying to build.

In the first half, the Toronto side played the best football of its brief existence, and really the only coherent stretch since a bright fifteen minutes in their first match against Chivas USA.

Up front, the addition of the towering striker Danny Dichio, playing his first match for TFC, provides a counterpoint for quick, clever Alecko Eskandarian.

Dichio certainly isn't pretty to watch, but until he ran out of gas late in the match, he was brutally effective.

"Danny's something different," Johnston said. "They don't like playing against him."

With his shaved head and rough, tough style, he also figures to become the first true local hero for the new franchise.

At the back, things seemed much more organized, and another recent addition, Marvell Wynne, with his tremendous pace, was dangerous every time he joined the attack.

Toronto were unlucky not to break their scoring drought in a 0-0 first half. But in the second, with a boisterous, chanting, tuned-in crowd behind them, they for some reason turned conservative and tentative.

"They sat back and were very nervous," Johnston said.

With Kansas City carrying the play, the inevitable goal game in the 81st minute off the foot of the Wizards' elegant, athletic striker Eddie Johnston, clearly the best player for either side on the afternoon.

So TFC remain, as Johnston said afterwards, "a work in progress."

For their next match, on May 12 at home against Chicago, they'll add midfielder Ronnie O'Brien to the mix.

Maybe he's the final missing piece. And when the goal finally comes, when the first victory comes, those fans who sang and stomped and chanted their hearts out on a cold, gray afternoon by the lake, will be something to hear.

back to Toronto FC menu

.

.