The first game of the Texas Pro Soccer Festival saw Toronto FC lose to MLS defending champion Houston Dynamo 4-3.
Dynamo began strong with a goal in the 3rd minute on a corner from Brad Davis and Greg Sutton came in and cleared it right to Craig Waibel, who headed a looping ball that hit the post and hit the back of the net giving Houston a quick 1-0 lead.
Toronto captain Jim Brennan gave Toronto their first scoring chance in the 10th minute driving a free kick to the net but Houston keeper Pat Onstad was in the right position to thwart the opportunity. Dynamo dominated the ball for most of the first half before Toronto finally broke through in the 36th minute. Brennan sent a great cross that Kiki Masampa, who is on trial for Toronto, sent a powerful header low to beat Onstad to tie the game 1-1.
Toronto did not enjoy the tie for long, as 6 minutes later Brain Ching got into position from a corner kick and his header past the far post gave Houston a 2-1 lead. It looked as if Houston would go into the half up 2-1 but at the end of the first half Ching sent a scorching shot to the top corner of the net to give Houston a 3-1 lead.
As the second half began the two teams took a different approach, as Houston made 7 substitutions, while Toronto kept the same lineup. Houston quickly added to their lead as Eric Ustruck found the back of the net with his header giving Houston a 4-1 lead.
The game went back and forth until the 71t minute when Toronto trial player Tony Vairelles was fouled hard in the box giving Toronto FC a penalty shot. Martin Brittain, who is new to the Toronto team, hit a low shot finding the back of the net to cut it to 4-2. In the 81st minute Toronto cut it to 4-3, as Vairelles fired a scorching shot past Onsted to cut Houston’s lead to one. The game ended 4-3, as the early goals was too much for Toronto to bounce back from.
Toronto is now 2-2-3 in the preseason and in their next match they take on DC United on Friday evening. Toronto game up 4 goals, but their offense showed some resilience, which was their weakness last year.
Toronto head coach John Carver said about the game, “I was really disappointed because we conceded two goals at the stroke of half time. We started the game poorly, we conceded a poor goal, but we worked our way back into the game I thought we did ok when we got the equalizer. I was disappointed though that we conceded 3 goals from set plays. I came in at half time and had a right go at them because we weren’t getting close enough and we got a good reaction from it. But we were a lot better (in the second half) we were a lot higher up the field, we got closer to players and we pressed the ball better and the pleasing thing is – they showed a bit of character.”
Author: Jason Green