By: Mike Newell
Tony Tchani had a day to remember on Saturday as he scored his first goal for the Reds since being traded for Dwayne De Rosario, and then had his first sending off all in the span of a minute as TFC remained winless lifetime against the Crew drawing 1-1. Following the recent comments from David Beckham and other MLS players in regards to referees and their influence on games all eyes were on the officials this week, and in some ways they did not disappoint.
The talk going into the match was the manufactured rivalry against the 2008 MLS Cup winners after incidents at Crew stadium sparked fights outside the stadium that same year. Tough the “Trillium Cup derby” as it has been called packed little punch as only about 20 Crew supporters made the journey north. With the home support in full voice the game’s first 20 minutes were scrappy with TFC gaining the upper hand in possession. Alan Gordon had the best chance early on with a sliding effort that Crew keep Will Hesmer saved well.
5 minutes later the Crew should have gone in front as Crew striker Emilio Renteria beat out Decoy Williams on the byline and fed the ball back to Robbie Rodgers however the American international fired his placed shot wide of the post.
Things almost threatened to kick off in the 34th minute when TFC right back Danleigh Borman was fouled hard into the visiting bench by Kevin Burns. Tchani flew in to defend his teammate and both he and Burns had a shove in. Both players were cautioned which would have a major impact on the game just 5 minutes later.
After a wonderful lay off by Gordon, Julian De Guzman played a precise chip pass to the streaking Tchani who buried the ball pass a diving Hesmer. The jubilant Tchani jumped the partition and into the first row of section 127. For this referee David Gantar gave the 21 year old midfielder his second yellow and his matching orders. TFC for the second week in a row would have to play a significant portion of the game down a man.
The second half saw the Crew dominate possession as expected and in the 50th minute they equalized though and excellent glancing header by the dangerous Renteria. The rest of the second half saw little in actual goal scoring chances, though TFC showed much more fight then they did in last week’s poor display against D.C United.
As the full time whistle blew for full time the major talking point was the Tchani sending off and if really warranted a yellow card.
In his post match comments TFC head coach Aron Winter had no issue with the card being shown, but took some issue with the ref over the first card and the overall consistency of calls.
When asked about the sending off, Winter replied “It’s stupid, you know you’re on a yellow card and you know when you jump from the pitch into the crowd you’re going to get a second” (Yellow card) He added that “He was emotional because it was his first goal at TFC, but it was not clever, he feels bad because he let his mates down, but let’s hope he gets some teachings from this”.
Winter also took issue with the consistence in the application of the celebration rule, noting that on three separate occasions this early season , Alan Gordon, Charlie Davies of D.C and Terry Dunfield for Vancouver have jumped into the crowd and have not been booked.
Winter looked to the positives in the game especially the start that TFC made in the first half. It has been an issue with the first year manager all season which culminated in the horrid 3-0 defeat to United last weekend. If Toronto are to start making a push up the eastern standings the team must continue to play with the same intensity they did in this game.
NOTES: Nana Attakora missed the game with a groin injury…Toronto FC have never beaten Columbus (0-5-7)…CB Decoy William made his full debut for TFC after one sub appearance. TFC new signing Richard Eckersley made his debut as a sub in the 63rd minute.