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, Brian Mullan and Dwayne DeRosario got the ball out wide, but few crosses reached Brian 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,
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 Holden ran 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.