September 29, 2007 MLS DC United vs Toronto FC (from MLSnet.com)
Explosive United run past Toronto
Chase for Supporters' Shield survives classic trap game
By Charles Boehm / MLSnet.com Staff
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- D.C. United shook off an early deficit, exploding past visiting Toronto FC 4-1 on four second-half goals -- including Luciano Emilio's league-leading 20th of the season -- at RFK Stadium on Saturday. The win helped United hold onto their four-point lead atop the tables.
United right back Bryan Namoff proved unable to shake off the bruised quadriceps sustained against Chivas de Guadalajara in Copa Sudamericana on Wednesday, prompting D.C. coach Tom Soehn to move Devon McTavish wide and insert Bobby Boswell next to Greg Vanney in the center of defense.
Soehn also rested veterans Jaime Moreno and Ben Olsen, likely eyeing what should be a taxing second leg in Mexico on Tuesday.
TFC's Maurice Edu looked lively in the early going and he tried his luck with a first-time blast at Troy Perkins' goal in the 9th minute, spinning his effort high and wide.
Five minutes later, Edu -- making his first professional appearance in the capital area after a distinguished college career at the nearby University of Maryland -- drew a foul from Vanney to earn his team a menacing set piece opportunity just outside the D.C. penalty area.
Carl Robinson took advantage, beating Perkins with an outstanding free kick that bent over the defensive wall and into the top left corner of the net to stun RFK and give the expansion club a 1-0 lead.
Looking little like the overall league leaders that they are, United seemed uncharacteristically passive in the first 45 and could only blame themselves for the turn of events. The Black-and-Red were lucky not to fall even further behind in the 24th minute as Marvell Wynne, playing a wide midfield role for Toronto, almost scored his first goal of the year with an incisive bit of attacking enterprise.
Taking advantage of a D.C. turnover in the center of the park, the former New York Red Bull Wynne ran at the United back line and split Vanney and Burch with a quick touch that forced Perkins to race off his line and deflect Wynne's shot wide of the target.
United finally responded with a set of chances around the half-hour mark. First holding midfielder Clyde Simms -- apparently still wearing his shooting boots after hitting the game-winning goal on Wednesday -- cracked a long-distance effort that beat Stamatopoulos but skimmed off the top of the crossbar. Then Marc Burch lifted one of his trademark left-footed crosses to the far post, where Guy-Roland Kpene got his head to the delivery but drove it straight down into the turf instead of on goal.
Emilio chased down the bouncing ball and his aerial challenge caused a leaping Stamatopoulos to spill it right in front of goal, but referee Ramon Hernandez whistled the Brazilian striker for a foul on the play.
Soehn was surely aggrieved by his team's first-half display and turned to his two most experienced players in search of a lift, as Olsen and Moreno replaced Gros and Kpene to start the second half.
But it was TFC who carved out a great chance almost immediately, as a soft clearance rolled out to Edu at the edge of the 18-yard box only for the rookie to roll his shot wide of the left post.
Fifty-two minutes into the match, the home side finally drew level with a breathtaking thunderbolt from out of the blue, as Fred took possession at the top corner of the Toronto box and eyed the Toronto defense before laying off for the advancing Burch, who promptly blasted a blistering shot from more than 20 yards out that was still rising when it arrowed into the twine.
Moreno's angled run had screened Stamatopoulos' view of the drive but the 28-year-old netminder would have had little chance in any case, getting only the slightest touch with his fingertips as Burch wheeled away to celebrate his first professional goal in front of the United supporters' clubs.
A few minutes later, a dogged run got Todd Dunivant past McTavish near the United endline to whip in a near-post cross for Wynne, but his bullet header flew just wide.
The RFK crowd's nerves were finally calmed when their team grabbed the lead for the first time thanks to an exquisitely-placed shot from Fred in the 57th minute.
The tricky Brazilian received the ball along the left channel and cut inside onto his preferred right foot, curling a dipping drive into the far corner of the net as Stamatopoulos dived to his left and came up empty-handed.
After all their hard work in the first stanza, the hard-luck Canadian side found themselves behind yet again and the situation got even worse in the 66th minute. After Moreno beat a poorly-executed offsides trap and latched onto Simms' through ball down the right side, the Bolivian kept his cool to slot a firm finish, his 112th career goal, under Stamatopoulos for a two-goal D.C. advantage.
D.C.'s revival continued four minutes later when Burch's aggressive dribble won his team a free kick some 25 yards out from goal, allowing Gomez to belt an audacious shot that floated over the wall and dropped towards the top corner, beating Stamatopoulos only to clang off the woodwork.
But Emilio plucked the ball out of midair with a lightning-fast, swiveling left-footed volley that flew into the opposite side of the goal before the TFC 'keeper could recover, running the score to 4-1.
The goal marked another sublime spot of clinical finishing from the Brazilian and ran his regular-season total to 20, drawing him ever-closer to Raul Diaz Arce's club record of 23 tallies and making him Major League Soccer's first 20-goal scorer since 2002.
But United celebrations were quelled when Fred came up hobbling just moments after Soehn had used his final substitution to replace Gomez with Brian Carroll.
The former Australian league MVP tried to stretch out his groin on the field, but had to leave with a muscle strain that may endanger his participation in Tuesday's Copa Sudamericana match in Guadalajara.
Charles Boehm is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
Toronto FC (5-15-6) vs. D.C. United (16-6-5) September 29, 2007 -- RFK Stadium Scoring Summary: TOR -- Carl Robinson 2 (unassisted) 14 DC -- Marc Burch 1 (Fred 7) 52 DC -- Fred 7 (Christian Gomez 9) 57 DC -- Jaime Moreno 7 (Clyde Simms 3, Ben Olsen 6) 66 DC -- Luciano Emilio 20 (unassisted) 70 Toronto FC -- Kenny Stamatopoulos, Andrew Boyens, Jim Brennan, Tyrone Marshall, Adam Braz (Jeff Cunningham 62), Todd Dunivant, Maurice Edu, Marvell Wynne, Chris Pozniak (Miguel Canizalez 81), Carl Robinson, Collin Samuel (Andrea Lombardo 75), Substitutes Not Used: Srdjan Djekanovic, Gabe Gala, Tyler Hemming, Joey Melo D.C. United -- Troy Perkins, Devon McTavish, Bobby Boswell, Greg Vanney, Marc Burch, Fred, Christian Gomez (Brian Carroll 71), Clyde Simms, Joshua Gros (Ben Olsen 46), Luciano Emilio, Guy-Roland Kpene (Jaime Moreno 46), Substitutes Not Used: Stephen deRoux, Rod Dyachenko, Domenic Mediate, Jay Nolly D.C. United Toronto FC total shots: 13 (Guy-Roland Kpene 3) 8 (3 tied with 2) shots on goal: 8 (Guy-Roland Kpene 2) 3 (3 tied with 1) fouls: 18 (Clyde Simms 3, Greg Vanney 3) 17 (Maurice Edu 4) offsides: 4 (4 tied with 1) 2 (Collin Samuel 1, Miguel Canizalez 1) corner kicks: 3 (3 tied with 1) 0 saves: 2 (Troy Perkins 2) 4 (Kenny Stamatopoulos 4) Misconduct Summary: TOR -- Tyrone Marshall (caution; Professional Foul) 11 DC -- Bobby Boswell (caution; Reckless Foul) 25 DC -- Devon McTavish (caution; Reckless Foul) 40 TOR -- Adam Braz (caution; Reckless Foul) 45 DC -- Ben Olsen (caution; Tackle from Behind) 84 referee: Ramon Hernandez Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Michael Salyers 4th official: Shane Moody time of game: 1:48 attendance: 25,174 weather: Sunny -and- 74 degrees All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
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