Home MLS Toronto FC DeRo’s hat trick allows 10-man D.C. United to escape with draw against TFC

DeRo’s hat trick allows 10-man D.C. United to escape with draw against TFC

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Dwayne De Rosario once again exacted sweet, sweet revenge against another former club — this time a hat trick against his hometown team, Toronto FC. In a game that saw many different storylines play out, it was still De Rosario who outshined every other player on the pitch in a 3-3 draw between the Reds and D.C. United at RFK Stadium.

On July 9 De Rosario scored the game-winner and lone goal over the New York Red Bulls, the team who had traded the forward to United in exchange for midfielder Dax McCarty only a couple of weeks earlier. Last week he was named MLS Player of the Week after his two-goal performance against his first MLS club, the San Jose Earthquakes.

On Saturday, it was TFC’s turn to taste disappointment as the former captain scored three times and will surely be up for Player of the Week honours again this week. He is the first player in MLS history to score for three different clubs in one season.

For De Rosario, his relationship with TFC soured over contract negotiations from late last season to early this year, the situation reached a boiling point. Unable to reach an agreement, the disgruntled forward was traded on April 1 to New York Red Bulls for a Danleigh Borman, Tony Tchani and a first round 2012 MLS SuperDraft pick. De Rosario has been red-hot since of late and now has five goals in two games and six goals since joining United six games ago. The forward has increased his season total to nine goals after scoring one for TFC in the first game of the season and two for the Red Bulls. His set a career best 15 goals for Toronto last season.

It did not take very long for the game to turn in favour of Toronto as a needless aggressive challenge from United ‘keeper Bill Hamid resulted in a straight red card in just the seventh minute. Poor communication between defender Brandon McDonald and Hamid allowed new TFC midfielder Eric Avila to make a move for the loose ball. Hamid came out for a brutal late challenge that flipped Avila over completely and resulted in him landing hard on his back. Hamid showed poor judgement and did not need to make that type of challenge, especially since the ball was close to a defender. As a result, DCU was suddenly down to 10 men and backup ‘keeper Steve Cronin was brought into the game for midfielder Stephen King. Incidentally, earlier this week Hamid was rewarded for his good play and received a call-up to the U.S. Men’s team for it’s friendly match against Mexico on Aug. 10.

Avila, who was making his debut for TFC after coming over in a trade from FC Dallas for former captain Maicon Santos, nearly opened the scoring in the 16th minute. He received the ball in the middle and then turned to fire a shot off the base of the post. Avila is the 36th player used by Toronto this season which ties the MLS record with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in the inaugural season of Major League Soccer in 1996.

Despite playing with 10 men, it was DCU that struck first. In the 19th minute, De Rosario received a pass from forward Santino Quaranta in the middle of the pitch. With lots of space, De Rosario timed a shot perfectly and drove a hard strike at goal. TFC ‘keeper Stefan Frei was able to get his hand on the ball, but it deflected up into the goal to give United a 1-0 lead.

De Rosario nearly had his second when he turned out Toronto defender Richard Eckersley inside-out, but had his his curling shot stopped by a diving Frei.

The score would remain the same at the end of the first half. TFC dominated possession and were able to string many passes together only to have the play fall apart in the final third. At times, Toronto was not moving quickly and United was able to collapse very well. It didn’t look as though DCU had only 10 men. With the goal by De Rosario and the 1-0 lead, DC was all back and able to defend in numbers, frustrating TFC as the Reds looked for any space to move the ball forward.

Winter made a change to start the second half bringing on Peri Marosevic for Doneil Henry and the forward had an immediate impact. In the 52nd minute, Cronin made a poor clearance and punched the ball off of a defender. The ball landed at Marosevic’s feet and he used the outside of his right foot to knock the ball into the empty net, pulling TFC even.

Winter also made two other changes early in the half, bringing on Matt Stinson in the 50th minute and Julian de Guzman in the 54th minute. TFC was now playing more offensively and pushing the ball forward with authority while still dominating possession. However, a brutal mistake by defender Andy Iro allowed De Rosario to once again pull his team ahead.

In the 64th minute, Iro missed an easy ball sent forward in his direction, going through his legs. De Rosario held off Torsten Frings and was able to get behind everyone before deking out Frei and putting United up 2-1. Winter was furious and was trying to get Iro’s attention from the touchline. It was an absolutely easy clearance and the defender has looked awful at times since arriving to Toronto from Columbus in a trade last month.

In the 69th minute, there was more controversy as United was making a substitution. Toronto took a free kick during the change and the ball came to de Guzman in the middle. He quickly fired from 30 yards out, but the ball took a deflection and got past Cronin. It was de Guzman’s first ever goal for TFC and he was ecstatic in his celebration. However, United coach Ben Olsen was less than thrilled and ran onto the pitch in protest. He argued that the goal should be called back since a substitution was in the process of being made. He was quickly ejected from the match while De Rosario picked up a yellow card for arguing as well.

Iro made another brutal gaffe in the 78th minute when his back pass to Frei was too soft. Frei had to come rushing out and knock the ball away from a DCU forward before eventually smothering it. He was also furious with Iro afterwards. The defender looked shaken and seemed to have lost all confidence and continued to make mistakes until he was able to redeem himself late in the match. In the 86th minute, Iro re-directed a Danny Koevermans shot past Cronin to give TFC a 3-2 lead with only a few minutes left in the match. The pitch was wet from the rain and Cronin was unable to hold onto the ball.

However, just over a minute later, another defensive breakdown led to Chris Pontius getting the ball in the six-yard box. Pontius was stopped on his first attempt and seemed sure of a goal on his rebound but Iro knocked him to the ground. The referee immediately called for a penalty as Iro pulled on the goat horns once more. De Rosario took the penalty and was able to get Frei to dive left while he slotted the ball just inside the right post to tie the game at 3-3.

In the 90th minute, Pontius had the ball again at the top of the box but was stopped by Frings. The ball then fell to De Rosario again, but Frei came out to challenge and gave very little of the net to shoot at. The former Red was poised to end the match in a storybook finish, but shot the ball just wide of the goal. Eight minutes of added time failed to produce a winner and the game ended in a hard fought and exciting stalemate.

In the end, Toronto failed to capitalize on having an extra man for the almost entire match and once again due to more dreadful defensive mistakes had to settle for just a single road point. Iro has potentially played himself out of the Reds jersey for his mistakes on the back line. Although Winter has drastically improved his lineup in recent weeks, he will no doubt attempt to acquire another defender or two before the end of the season.

As for the De Rosario factor — he was a threat all night and could have actually scored five goals on the night. United had other threats as well with Pontius and Josh Wolff up front. Charlie Davies, who is tied for third overall in goal scoring, was on the bench and did not play. It is becoming clear that De Rosario in six short games has become the star and leader of this team – just as he had once done as a member of TFC. He more than demonstrated that he can still play at a high level and proved it directly against his previous employers in dramatic fashion.

After a busy schedule, Toronto will now have a full week off and will return home for a match next Saturday against Real Salt Lake. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. ET at BMO Field.

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