Crew kick off season with shutout win over Toronto

In a game both coaches described as a “good result,” one would expect a hard-fought draw. That was not the case in the first Major League Soccer game of 2010 for the Columbus Crew and Toronto F.C.In front of 13,536 fans at Crew Stadium, the Crew extended its unbeaten streak against rival Toronto to nine games and started the season with a 2-0 victory.In MLS, opening day is usually a mystery. Teams begin to see what players should be on the field to help their quest for the playoffs and MLS Cup in November. The Crew, though, playing a similar lineup to the one it used last year for the home-opener against Toronto, managed to maintain much of the roster that has finished with the league’s best record each of the last two seasons.The game started off slowly, with the Crew dominating the majority of the possession. It finally paid off in the 29th minute. After midfielder Eddie Gaven suffered a tough foul near the sideline, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, former league and finals MVP and set piece wizard, took the free kick that met the head of central defender Andy Iro and found the back of the net. Iro was starting in place of two-time reigning Defender of the Year Chad Marshall.The game opened up after the first goal. Both keepers were forced into action before halftime, with Schelotto nearly slotting home a poor back pass by Ty Harden, and O’Brian White of Toronto forcing Crew keeper William Hesmer into a finger-tip save that kept the Crew’s advantage going into halftime.Looking to use the speed of wide midfielder Robbie Rogers, the Crew got into the Toronto box several times in the second half, but was unable to capitalize on its chances. Central midfielder Adam Moffat had what was probably the best chance of the afternoon to double the Crew’s advantage when he found himself one-on-one with Toronto keeper Stefan Frei. But his shot rolled meekly into Frei’s arms, and Moffat was left to rue the chance that was.The physical play typical of a rivalry game between the Crew and Toronto was on display in the second half, with a few stoppages for players that had gone down and multiple fouls being called on both teams. Crew head coach Robert Warzycha called the game “a battle,” saying, “both teams played hard” looking for the win.It wasn’t until the 86th minute that the Crew controversially doubled its lead and sent the passionate fans in the Nordecke, the Crew’s supporter section, into a frenzy. After the referee signaled advantage for the Crew on a foul against Gaven, Danny O’Rourke, playing out of position at left back, slid to beat Frei on a 50-50 ball.This time there was no foul called, and the ball was poorly cleared by Nick Garcia of Toronto, falling to Schelotto, who curled the shot into the open net from outside the 18-yard box as Frei remained down.It was Schelotto’s fifth goal in his last three appearances for the Crew, dating back to last year’s playoffs and the CONCACAF Champions League match against Toluca F.C. of Mexico earlier this year.“Toronto is a difficult team to play,” Warzycha said. “They have a new coach and some new faces … but three points at home and a first win is good.”

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