Wednesday night's sole Major League Soccer game was by no means a classic, but Toronto FC's narrow home victory (1-0) over bottom-placed D.C. United proved one thing for the Canadian franchise, says Cathal Kelly: "We're not afraid of you, or anyone, any more."
Toronto's new attitude was embodied by striker Danny Dichio standing up to some off-the-ball screaming and barging from D.C.'s Devon McTavish, the defender who'd earlier made the error that allowed the very physical Dichio to score the game's winning goal. "Dichio derisively pushed McTavish aside while the D,C, team clustered around them," writes Kelly. "Dichio's Toronto teammates gathered instinctively. But they watched from a distance, unconcerned." No longer freshmen, Toronto (4-2-2) can now handle teams like the four-time MLS Cup winners (2-7-0).
After the goal, Toronto spent much of the game absorbing D.C.'s pressure, while Dichio and D.C.'s Gonzalo Peralta "engaged in what might have amounted to a prize fight if they'd roped the field. Dichio checked Peralta. Peralta elbowed Dichio in the head. Dichio bundled Peralta painfully to the ground. All game long they swung at each other. Each time one fell, the other picked him up and dusted him off." Dichio described his battle with the Argentine defender as "two professionals going at it. If guys want to stand up and be counted, that's the way I like playing."