In Major League Soccer, players can’t afford to make critical mistakes.
Particularly when a player the caliber of Dwayne De Rosario is the benefactor.
De Rosario took advantage of two second half miscues from Seattle and got a goal and an assist to power Toronto FC to a 2-0 win over the Sounders FC.
“I thought we were doing alright and were pretty comfortable, then we made a big mistake in the back and that was a big shot of adrenaline for Toronto,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Then we made another mistake and then after that Toronto dominated the game the last 20 minutes.”
Injuries forced Schmid to shake up the lineup a bit, but it didn’t deter Seattle’s play on the field. In the first half they moved the ball well, even after Toronto took a physical approach to the game. The home side committed 13 fouls in the game, and made them count as hard tackles left the Sounders on the ground and the referee looking to the book to issue three yellow cards to Toronto for reckless tackles.
Seattle controlled much of the first-half possession and had the best scoring chance early when Patrick Ianni raced down the middle of the box to get his head on a Freddie Ljungberg corner kick, missing high on the attempt in the 9th minute. Brad Evans, starting up top in Schmid’s reconfigured lineup, got three first half shots to lead the team, but was unable to find the net and the two sides went into the intermission in a scoreless tie.
“With (Mike) Fucito going down and with (Pat) Noonan going down, we didn’t have a lot of forward options,” Schmid said. “I thought Evans played well for us up there and I thought Sanna (Nyassi) gave us a good 55 minutes and (Steve) Zakuani gave us some good moments at the end.”
Early in the second half, Toronto gained momentum on De Rosario’s fifth goal of the season. In the 58th minute a Toronto cross attempt hit the referee, knocking it back to Osvaldo Alonso at the top of the box. De Rosario regained possession from the stunned Alonso and fired off a shot to beat Kasey Keller inside the far post to put Toronto FC up 1-0.
“It’s just one of those things where something happens that you’d like to get back. In the end it falls to their hottest player and he smashes the ball into the goal,” said Keller, who was largely untested and finished with one save on the game.
De Rosario then sparked another Toronto goal, feeding second-year forward O’Brian White on a run up the left side of the box. White got behind Seattle’s defense and shot to the far post to put Toronto up 2-0.
Seattle continued to pour on the pressure, though. Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei was forced into four second-half saves to preserve his first shutout of the season, including one on a chance from Evans in the 60th minute when he took a pass from Zakuani up the right side and took a first-time shot that Frei deflected clear.
“You can make mistakes and that’s part of the game, but with the two big mistakes we made, you will never win the game. It doesn’t matter how good you play,” Ljungberg said. “It’s extremely disappointing that we’re not winning when we play so well. Next time we won’t make those mistakes and we’ll win the game.”
The loss drops Seattle to 2-2-2 (8 points), keeping them in third place in the Western Conference standings. Toronto improves to 2-3-0 (6 points). The Sounders return home after the cross-continent road trip to face the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Qwest Field. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 pm.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley (David Estrada 79), Tyrone Marshall, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl, Sanna Nyassi (Steve Zakuani 60), Osvaldo Alonso, Peter Vagenas, Nathan Sturgis (Fredy Montero 71), Freddie Ljungberg, Brad Evans.
Toronto FC - Stefan Frei, Maksim Usanov, Raivas Hscanovics, Adrian Cann, Nana Attakora, Julian de Guzman, Martin Saric, Nick LaBrocca (Sam Cronin 74), Chad Barrett (Dan Gargan 62), Dwayne De Rosario (Gabe Gala 79), O’Brian White.
Sounders FC - None.
Toronto FC - Dwayne De Rosario 58; O’Brian White (De Rosario) 76.