Former Chivas USA midfielder Amado Guevara corralled a ball that bounced
off the Field Turf surface and off a defender in the 36th minute to lash a shot past goalie Zach Thornton. The victory earned TFC (2-2-2) its first home win of 2009 and handed
Chivas USA (4-1-1) its first defeat.
"It was a tough game," said Chivas USA coach Preki in a team game report. "Different and difficult conditions, bouncy, windy. We fought but at the end we came short. I thought that they might have been a little bit luckier than us and may be slightly better than us and they got three points. ... I think we were a little soft on the play [the goal]. They got a lucky bounce. We should've done better."
A sharp wind blowing off Lake Ontario and game-time temperatures of 43 degrees hampered both teams, which combined for just nine shots. Only two TFC shots, aside from Guevara's goal, forced a save from Thornton, and his counterpart, rookie Stefan Frei, recorded just one. Yet both keepers and their defenders reacted smartly to wind-blown crosses and bouncing balls to prevent scoring chances.
TFC rookie midfielder Sam Cronin got another start in place of the injured Dwayne De Rosario. Cronin and Carl Robinson threw up a strong barrier that blunted Chivas USA's attacks up the middle. Cronin also sprayed an intelligent variety of balls into the attacking third to offer up scoring chances.
Missing nine players, Preki started Eduardo Lillingston and Alecko Eskandarian up top, and replaced both after the first 45 minutes in a vain effort to generate some offense. Only Sacha Kljestan could put a shot on the frame, and Frei dealt with that effort as well as the few threatening crosses and through balls Chivas USA could muster.
Danny Dichio, making his first start of the season, set up the goal from midfield with a ball he flicked into the heart of the Chivas USA back line. Guevara ran it down as two defenders tried to collect it, but Guevara's persistence yielded a favorable bounce as the challengers stumbled, and he took his time before thumping the ball past Thornton from the edge of the goal area.
If not for an excellent save by Thornton on a close-range shot from Chad Barrett a few minutes later, Chivas USA would have been down 2-0 at halftime. Preki used all three of his subs and his team got the ball into the penalty area a few times in the second half but only near-misses resulted.
TFC had lost all four of its previous meetings with Chivas USA since entering the league in 2007. On a night rife with ragged play Toronto had enough poise to get the goal it needed, only the third conceded in six games by the league's top team.
Toronto FC 1 Chiva USA 0.
Goal: Guevara 36.
Toronto FC - Frei, Wynne, Serioux, Velez, Brennan, Guevara (Ricketts, 91+), Cronin, Robinson, Vitti (Ibrahim, 80), Barrett, Dichio.
Chivas USA - Thornton, Trujillo (Mayen, 66), Talley, Thomas, Bornstein, Nagamura, Kljestan, Marsch, Stepanovic, Lillingston (Chijindu, 46), Eskandarian (Lahoud, 60).
Yellow Cards: Toronto FC - Dichio 38; Chivas USA - Eskandarian 57, Kljestan 79.
Referee: Ricardo Salazar.