April 22, 2009 MLS Toronto FC vs Chivas USA (from MLSnet.com)

Chivas struggle for possession in loss
Toronto dominates ball throughout in Red-and-White's first defeat of season
04/23/2009 00:54 AM
By Peter Mallett / MLSnet.com Staff

TORONTO -- Chivas USA's best-ever start came to a screeching halt on Wednesday at a cold and windswept BMO Field as the Red-and-White dropped a 1-0 decision to Toronto FC.

The hometown Reds won their first ever match against Chivas and their first home game in three starts this season on a 36th minute strike from Amado Guevara and dominated possession from the opening whistle.

"They [Toronto] just seemed to want it more than us, created a couple more opportunities and in the end got the result tonight," Chivas coach Preki said. "It was a tough game under difficult conditions -- with strong winds, cold and played on an artificial surface as well. In the end we came up a little bit short -- they may have worked harder than us on the night and got the three points."

Guevara knocked down a cross from forward Danny Dichio and split the Chivas defense at the top of the penalty area, with his hard right-footed blast finding the back of the net past an on-rushing Chivas goalkeeper Zach Thornton.

"There was a melee going on at the top of the box and we were trying to clear the ball," said Thornton. "The ball bounced off of one of our players [Trujillo] and it just bounced perfectly to Guevara. He is a good finisher so anytime he gets in that close on the goal with the ball it's going to be tough for the goalkeeper."

It was only the third goal of the season scored against Chivas as they lost for the first time ever to Toronto FC in five starts, with the visitors from California also holding a 9-2 scoring edge until Wednesday's loss.

Toronto outshot Chivas 6-3 on an evening where Thornton was kept busy snaring several searching long balls, crosses and corner kicks as Toronto pressed for a second goal.

Dichio appeared to have given Toronto an insurance marker in the 62nd minute but his header was easily gobbled up by a well positioned Thornton.

The match was played under swirling winds northwesterly winds, intermittent rain and cold temperatures of 42 degrees, making Toronto's FieldTurf playing surface slippery and the ball difficult to control for both sides.

"We need to be prepared to play on surfaces like this and in conditions like this but I think Toronto has a little bit of an advantage," said Chivas midfielder Paulo Nagamura. "I think we were pretty solid throughout the match but the one weird play they got a goal out of it."

Chivas best and only clear-cut scoring chance came in the 24th minute when forward Eduardo Lillingston eluded Toronto defender Jim Brennan to the left of the Toronto penalty area. Lillingston sprinted towards the Toronto goal but shot into the side of goal.

Chivas only official shot on goal during the match was a long range free kick effort by Sacha Kljestan in the 41st minute but his shot was easily scooped up by Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

The game also saw some rough and tumble play on both sides with a total of 21 fouls whistled down by referee Ricardo Salazar, who also reached into his pocket to hand out three yellow cards.

"It was a very physical game tonight and I think the referee let a lot of things go -- but that's just how it goes sometimes," said Alecko Eskandarian. "It was pretty chippy and at times a very ugly match out there tonight. In the end I think Toronto really got a lucky goal tonight that changed the course of the game. After that they had the luxury of us chasing them around the field in search of an equalizer."

Peter Mallett is a contributor to MLSnet.com.

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