[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Toronto FC returned from its first road trip in the Concacaf Champions League group phase with a 1-0 defeat to Panamanian club Arabe Unido that it finished with just nine men.
Nick LaBrocca and Fuad Ibrahim were sent off after Fidel Ceasar scored the only goal of the game in the 40th minute. The result left the teams tied with 1-1-0 records in Group A, and awaiting the result of a match between Cruz Azul and Real Salt Lake in Mexi co City Wednesday to see how the standings shake out.
RSL beat Arabe Unido last week, 2-1, on a stoppage-time penalty kick with the Panamanians down to nine men at the final whistle. TFC opened group play with a stunning 2-1 victory over Cruz Azul but wasn’t able to parlay that result into success on the road.
Coach Preki fielded many of his backups, including goalie Milos Kocic, and TFC struggled to match Arabe Unido’s energy in the first half. The home team, playing without the suspended Nahil Carrol and Andres Santamaria, scored on a scramble from a corner kick when Ceasar settled a flick from Rolan De La Cruz and directed a shot on frame. O’Brian White, standing on the goal line, got a foot to it and LaBrocca cleared the ball, but officials ruled it had crossed the goal line.
Dwayne DeRosario came into the match for the second half, and Preki also pulled Dan Gargan and Joseph Nane off the bench after the dismissal of LaBrocca, who earned a red card from referee Marlon Mejia for crashing into goalkeeper Jose Calderon as they went for a loose ball.
Calderon preserved the win in the final minutes by blocking a shot by Ibrahim and a rebound attempt by DeRosario was also blocked. TFC attacked again and Ibrahim went off after being cautioned for a sliding challenge; for his vehement protest, out came the red card.
Toronto plays RSL in an MLS match this weekend, and the teams resume CCL play against each other in three weeks.
Aug. 24 in La Chorrera
Arabe Unido 1 Toronto FC 0. Goal: Ceasar 40.
Arabe Unido -- Calderon, Anderson, Davis (Rodriguez, 32), Cummings, De La Cruz, Cooper, Justavino (Gomez, 86), Mosquera, Angulo, Ceasar, Londono (Roderick, 62).
Toronto FC -- Kocic, Harden, Attakora, Hscanovics (Gargan, 62), Usanov, de Guzman, Saric (Nane, 60), LaBrocca, Gala, Ibrahim, White (De Rosario, 46).
Referee: Marlon Mejia (El Salvador).