Toronto FC vs. DC United | MLS Match Preview
TORONTO FC vs DC UNITED
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
July 5, 2014 (WEEK 17, MLS Game #155) 7 p.m. ET (TSN2; CSN-MA)
Toronto FC kick off a crucial homestand with a major test as they welcome Eastern Conference leaders D.C. United to BMO Field on Saturday evening. TFC start a three-game home stretch after extending their undefeated run to eight games at midweek in a 1-1 draw at the Chicago Fire. United still hold a share of the top spot in the division despite a 1-0 home loss last weekend to MLS overall leaders Seattle Sounders FC in their last match.
REFEREE: David Gantar. AR1 (bench): Daniel Belleau; AR2 (opposite): Gianni Facchini; 4th: Silviu Petrescu
Gantar's MLS Career: 27 games; FC/gm: 25.9; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 10; pens: 3
SUSPENDED: DC: Fabian Espindola (through July 6)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Jackson, Jermain Defoe, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell ... DC: Fabian Espindola, Lewis Neal
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: Julio Cesar (BRA)
ALL-TIME (19 meetings): Toronto FC 6 wins, 26 goals ... United 10 wins, 35 goals ... Ties 3
AT TORONTO (10 meetings): Toronto FC 4 wins, 9 goals ... United 6 wins, 11 goals ... Ties 0
FUTURE MATCH: 7/30: D.C. United vs. Toronto FC, 7 p.m. ET
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Jermain Defoe scored the gameís only goal on the hour mark to lead Toronto FC to victory, March 22 at BMO Field.
- TFC have won the last two home games in the series, after going more than four seasons, from 2009-2013, without a home win vs. United.
- TFC gained a win and a draw on their two trips to RFK Stadium last year, the victory just the clubís second all-time vs. United (first since 2010).
- Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen vs. DC: P4 W3 L0 D1 ... Ben Olsen vs. TOR: P11 W5 L4 D2
LAST MEETING (MLS)
3/22: TOR 1, DC 0 (Defoe 60')
- The game's lone goal came on the hour. Michael Bradley slipped a weighted pass through the center to Gilberto, whose shot was saved by United goalkeeper Bill Hamid. But the ball rebounded to the foot of Jermain Defoe, who slotted home into the unguarded goal.
- Toronto FC goalkeeper Julio Cesar was called upon to make two saves for the match.
- TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Julio Cesar - Mark Bloom, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Justin Morrow - Jackson, Jonathan Osorio, Michael Bradley, Alvaro Rey (Bradley Orr 83) - Gilberto (Dwayne De Rosario 63), Jermain Defoe.
- D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin, Jeff Parke, Bobby Boswell, Cristian Fernandez (Conor Doyle 82) - Davy Arnaud (Kyle Porter 66), Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon - Luis Silva - Fabian Espindola, Eddie Johnson.
Toronto FC stretched their undefeated streak to six games, reaching a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire on Wednesday evening at Toyota Park. TFC sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, with 21 points from 13 matches.
- The match turned in the 29th minute when Torontoís Luke Moore was shown a straight red card by referee Sorin Stoica for an elbow to the head of Fire midfielder Chris Ritter.
- But the visitors took the lead in 42nd minute when Jackson, unmarked at the back post, headed home a cross from Jermain Defoe from the right-wing corner.
- The Fire pulled level in the 57th minute from a short corner when Mike Magee slipped the ball to rookie Harry Shipp in the left side of the area and he cut inside before unleashing an unstoppable shot that tipped past TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
- TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made one change to the team that played to a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Nick Hagglund came back into central defense in place of Doneil Henry.
- TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Mark Bloom, Nick Hagglund, Steven Caldwell, Justin Morrow - Dominic Oduro, Jonathan Osorio (Bradley Orr 87), Collen Warner, Jackson - Luke Moore (ejected 29), Jermain Defoe.
- Toronto FC extended their undefeated run to six games (3-0-3) with the draw. Itís the clubís longest league undefeated streak since their club-record eight-game streak May 8-June 10, 2010.
- "This point is very valuable. It proves now that at six unbeaten that when we are away from home, and being down to ten 10 twice, weíve managed to get something out of the game. That's extremely important," said Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen.
- It was also a third consecutive draw away from home for Toronto FC, who now begin a three-game homestand with the D.C. United match.
- "Sometimes, when you're away from home, you're down to 10 men and you've got a lead, you want to protect it," Nelsen said. "We probably fell back a bit too deep and allowed them to take a lot more of the play."
- Jackson scored his second goal of the season, his first coming May 3 in the 2-1 loss to New England.
- "We worked on that potentially but our wide guys would have a lot of influence running in behind their defenders and it just happened to be that he got himself into that position and it was a perfect cross. Really good finish," said Nelsen.
- TFC expect to have Michael Bradley available after the elimination of the USA at the round-of-16 stage in the FIFA World Cup.
- "We'll see," Nelsen said. "Michael's had an emotional and physical traumatic experience with an amazing World Cup. We have to see how Michael is when he comes back."
- Said defender Nick Hagglund: ìWe are pretty excited to get Mike [Bradley] back in the lineup. Being at home, we are tough at home. That is where we thrive. We still have two or three games in hand on most teams so thereís an opportunity for us to jump up the standings.î
- After not featuring in the New York match, Nick Hagglund returned to a central defense role. He played at right back in the San Jose game, after his first three starts came as a center back.
- "We kind of sat back and we didn't have the confidence to maybe press a little higher, and force them into making mistakes. They kind of trapped us in a wee bit, but we had to defend," Nelsen said. "We defended very well. When you're down to 10 men, you need a lot of organization and a lot of character and a lot of strength, and I think the boys showed that in abundance."
D.C. United saw their undefeated run come to an end after three matches, falling 1-0 to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. United are in a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with 25 points from 16 games.
- The game's only goal came on 39 minutes. Following a partially cleared corner, Sounders FC midfielder Gonzalo Pineda found himself with time and space on the right flank. He took a touch and drove a bending ball into the box where Chad Barrett rose to meet it, heading it home from the edge of the 6-yard box.
- Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei was credited with two saves for the shutout, though he did see a full-blooded volley from Chris Rolfe crash off the woodwork midway through the first half.
- United head coach Ben Olsen made four changes to the team that defeated the Montreal Impact 4-2 at Stade Saputo. Bill Hamid came in between the posts in place of Andrew Dykstra, Chris Korb started in the back for Cristian Fernandez, Lewis Neal came into the midfield for Davy Arnaud, and Eddie Johnson started up top in place of the injured Fabian Espindola.
- D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Sean Franklin (Taylor Kemp 87) - Perry Kitchen - Nick DeLeon, Lewis Neal (Jared Jeffrey 46), Chris Rolfe - Eddie Johnson, Luis Silva (Collin Martin 76).
- United had their three-game undefeated run come to an end, also losing at RFK Stadium for the first time since a season-opening 3-0 defeat by the Columbus Crew.
- "I thought it was a good night and it's a tough game sometimes when a final product isn't good enough on the night and they sneak a goal. They had two shots, and one on frame but sometimes that's all you need," said United head coach Ben Olsen.
- United were also shut out at the attacking end for the second time in three games, after going 12 games without being blanked following offensive shutouts in their first two games of the season.
- "I thought we had a lot of good ideas. Our final touch in and around the box just wasn't good. I donít know why that was the case, unless we were all just anxious from not having a game in a while," said midfielder Chris Rolfe. "Again, we created a lot of chances, we just didn't finish them."
- Added midfielder Nick DeLeon: "You need to get goals to win. But, there were a lot of positives in today's game so it's all right. We came out unlucky and couldn't get the goal. They had one chance, one goal, unlucky for us."
- The match was the first for United without leading scorer Fabian EspÌndola, after it was revealed heíll be out of action for up to six weeks after suffering a knee injury in a tackle early in the second half of the Montreal match.
- "Would I like Fabi on the field?" Olsen said. "Yeah. But I"d like our group to score goals without Fabi. We've had a lot of guys contribute in some form or fashion. Have we relied too heavily on him? Yeah, absolutely. But weíll be OK. We'll score goals. I think it was just the [final ball] that let us down."
- Said midfielder Chris Rolfe: "We have talent in this locker room. There are plenty of guys that can step up. I think it's just a matter now of us getting them acclimated to everything and us getting used to them as well -- and that includes Luis [Silva]. He came in and had a great game in Montreal, but not every game is going to be like that. We have got to get used to him and his movements, and when we do weíll be OK."
- With Davy Arnaud suspended, Lewis Neal made his first start since May 21, filling the central midfield role.
- The club announced following the Seattle match that left back Cristian Fernandez will be leaving the club after both sides mutually agreed on the termination of his contract.
- "Cristian was unhappy living in the United States and we have decided it was in everyone's best interest to release the player from his contract," said United general manager Dave Kasper. "We wish him all the best at his next club."