DC United made their first comeback of the season en route to an important 3-2 win over Toronto FC last night at RFK Stadium and breaking a frustrating four game losing streak in the process. A Jaime Moreno penalty kick and Luciano Emilio toe poke late in the second half got the vital three points United was desperately in need of. "It's not desperation, there's a real urgency. We've dropped some results and it's wearing on everybody." said Tom Soehn after the match when asked if the team was playing with a sense of desperation.
United came out with a sense of urgency not seen in many matches this season yet it was Toronto FC that got on the scoreboard early. Just like on Wednesday night in Toronto, the visitors took the early lead without Zach Wells having to break a sweat. A 13th minute counter attack resulted in the opening goal of the match. Jim Brennan latched onto a ball on the left flank and easily floated in a cross to the 6'4" Danny Dichio who easily beat Gonzalo Peralta to head into an empty net for a 1-0 lead. Toronto should have doubled their advantage in the 20th minute when they broke out on a 3-1 advantage only to see Amado Guevara's shot from 18 yards deflected by defender Devon MacTavish and Wells sweeped up the shot with ease.
Not unlike Wednesday night United worked very hard to get an equalizer by applying heavy pressure against a bunkered in Toronto defense. In the 27th minute United almost equalized when a Jaime Moreno shot was saved by Greg Sutton and the rebound to Emilio was saved as well and left United frustrated at their dominance not being rewarded. United continued their assault on goal in the 34th minute when Marcelo Gallardo blistered a shot that Sutton parried into the path of Bryan Namoff only to see his shot rocket over the bar and the game remained at 1-0. Even though things weren't going United's way at the moment Tom Soehn felt differently "You know were looking for something to go our way. Nothing has been easy this year, not even today. But the guys were resilient, I credit them for their fight and their belief."
United's persistent pressure paid off in the 41st minute when United scored on all things, a corner kick. Jaime Moreno took the corner and chipped into the box where MacTavish flicked it to the back post for Gonzalo Peralta's diving header and his first MLS goal. United did not score all season long last year on a corner and only had one in the season prior. This was also the first time in ten matches this season that United had battled back to equalize a match at any point.
United nearly scored again in the 45th minute when a well worked passing sequence at the edge of the box had Clyde Simms open from 12 yards only to have Sutton make a brilliant save. Mere seconds later Toronto was back in front as Dichio struck from 22 yards to give the visitors a 2-1 halftime lead.
United continued their aggressive play in the second half and in the 53rd minute were awarded a free kick just outside the box. Gallardo's kick hit the crossbar and United still trailed by a goal. United thought they had the equalizer in the 67th minute when Gallardo headed Moreno in on goal. Sutton saved his shot and Emilio tucked in the rebound only to have the offside flag raised. Television replays showed the call to be correct only frustrating United and the 18,647 in attendance even further.
In the 70th minute United's endeavor was rewarded when Marvell Wynne clearly shoved Santino Quaranta in the back in the penalty are and a penalty kick was awarded. MLS all-time leading goal scorer Jaime Moreno stepped up and scored his 116th career goal and fourth goal of the season to bring the game level at 2-2. United wasn't done just yet when two minutes later Santino Quaranta collected a loose ball and sped downfield uncontested and let loose a cracker from 25 yards that Sutton failed to hold and the juicy rebound was poked in by Emilio for his second goal of the season and United lead 3-2. For the first time this season had come back from a deficit to take a lead in a league match.
A tactical change by head coach Tom Soehn brought about the change in play in the second half when he went to a 3-5-2 by pushing MacTavish out to the right side of midfield and Fred helping in the middle with Gallardo. As soon as United got back out in front, he went back to the 4-4-2 to try and hold on to the lead.
United had to withstand a few dangerous attacks from the visitors as Zach Wells looked very nervous and hesitant on a few crosses. "We still look a bit shaky in the back and Zach has a lot to do with that. We're going to watch some tape and make sure that we correct that. You need to have confidence in the guy in the back who see's the most" said Soehn.
Toronto poured forward looking for the equalizer but United held on to get their 3rd win of the season. "Again, this group with all the turmoil they have, we keep sticking together and saying were going to pull through this. During traumatic times like this you can see it go the other way very easily. We had a lot of the ball and we had a lot of chances and we knew were going to get more. It's just a matter of getting the one opportunity to get over the hump." said Soehn. "We're not good enough now but we plan on getting there."
Tor – Dichio 3 (Brennan, Robert) 13
DC – Peralta 1 (MacTavish, Moreno) 41
Tor – Dichio 4 (Guevara) 46+
DC – Moreno 4 (penalty kick) 70
DC – Emilio 2 (unassisted)
Tor – Robert 62 (yellow)
DC – MacTavish 80 (yellow)
Tor – Guevara 80 (yellow)
DC – Quaranta 85 (yellow)
Tor – Robert 95+ (red)
DC United – Zach Wells, Bryan Namoff, Devon MacTavish, Gonzalo Peralta, Gonzalo Martinez, Santino Quaranta (Mediate 88), Fred, Clyde Simms, Marcelo Gallardo, Jaime Moreno (capt) (Burch 85), Luciano Emilio
Subs: Jose Carvallo, Marc Burch, Ryan Cordiero, Domenic Mediate, Dan Stratford, Francis Doe, Quavas Kirk
Toronto FC – Greg Sutton, Marvell Wynne, Marco Valez, Jim Brennan (capt), Tyrone Marshall (Tebily 51), Rohan Ricketts (Smith 75), Maurice Edu, Carl Robinson, Laurent Robert, Danny Dichio (Cunningham 75), Amado Guevara
Subs: Brian Edwards, Todd Dunivant, Julius James, Olivier Tebily, Kevin Harmse, Jeff Cunningham, Jarrod Smith
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Assistant Referee: Kermit Quisenberry
Assistant Referee: Craig Lowry
4th Official: Mark Geiger
Weather: Cloudy and 75 Degrees