When he came off the field last Saturday as a raucous crowd celebrated Toronto FC's first goal and first victory, captain Jim Brennan said he and his teammates wanted opponents "to be intimidated" when they played at BMO Field.
Whether or not defending champion Houston (2-3-1) was intimidated when it played TFC Wednesday night at BMO, it certainly was ineffective despite outshooting the host, 13-7. Andy Welsh's headed goal from a Ronnie O'Brien corner kick earned TFC a 1-0 win on a rainy Toronto night, giving coach Mo
Johnston and his team their second straight victory.
Houston's attack depends on service from the flanks. Brad Davis, BrianMullan and Dwayne DeRosariogot the ball out wide, but few crosses reachedBrian Ching. Conditions weren't conducive to crisp passing; balls skipped and slid on the saturated FieldTurf, and players planting their feet to cross often had them skid out from under them. DeRosario, after scorching Colorado in a 3-1 win, struggled.
Joseph Ngwenya missed two excellent chances, including a clean breakaway he stroked well wide of the far post. He came off in the 68th minute and substitute Stuart Holdenran strongly with the ball but seldom cracked open the Toronto defense.
After Welsh headed in his free kick, O'Brien booted clear a goal-bound ball that had caromed off Dynamo defender Eddie Robinson. TFC keeper Greg Sutton swatted a Davis free kick over the crossbar and stabbed out his left hand to deflect a close-range effort during another scramble, which due to the conditions predominated througout the soggy 90 minutes.
Toronto (2-4-0) posted its first shutout of the season while Houston was blanked for the fourth time in six games. The most impressive stat of the night, however, was the attendance: 19,123, only about 1,000 short of capacity.
MLS is notorious for inflating its attendances, but the team cut off season-ticket sales at 14,000, not that many seats appeared to be empty, and for any league match -- not to mention one in midweek, in the rain, in 42-degree weather -- that's a fantastic number.
May 16 in Toronto
Toronto FC 1 Houston 0.Goal: Welsh (O'Brien) 25.
Toronto FC -Sutton, Wynne, Goldthwaite, Boyens, Welsh (Braz, 83), Brennan, Edu, C.Robinson, O'Brien (Pozniak, 73), Buddle, Eskandarian (Lombardo, 65).
Houston -Onstad, Mulrooney, Cochrane, E.Robinson, Barrett, Mullan, Clark, De Rosario, Davis, Ngwenya (Holden, 68), Ching.
Yellow Cards:Toronto FC - Brennan 43, Eskandarian 54, Pozniak 86; Houston - Robinson 76.
Referee: Terry Vaughn.