Toronto Taxed In Tauro Win

Defining Moment

Julian de Guzman's second goal during a six-game Toronto FC unbeaten run (in all competitions) was the difference between the CONCACAF Champions League opponents as the Reds beat Tauro F.C. 2-1 on Thursday through fouls, cautions and an injury.

The victory puts Toronto level on points atop Group C standings with FC Dallas, ahead of Tauro and Mexican champion Pumas UNAM. The goal from de Guzman arrived just three minutes after Ryan Johnson gave the team a 1-0 lead. The Canadian international's swerving shot from distance put the Reds ahead 2-0 when he caught Tauro goalkeeper Alvaro Anzola moving to his right. The midfielder captained Toronto on the night; he had scored his first goal for TFC earlier this month in D.C. with another long range effort.

Pitch Battles

Toronto started the CCL match in a 3-4-3 formation similar to how they lined up during a weekend victory over Salt Lake in MLS. It seemed to work early, however, shortly after taking the two-goal lead while dominating the first half hour, the momentum turned severely toward Tauro. The Panamanians forced three yellow cards to TFC from referee Marcos Brea of Cuba and nearly scored before intermission but for Richard Eckersley's header off the line.

It was more of the same in the second half. Three more cautions accompanied the next 45 minutes for Toronto, with Tauro players finding any reason to sprawl out on the grass and dirt of Estadio Rommel Fernandez. While the referee rightfully awarded a penalty to Tauro that Luis Moreno converted to make it 2-1, in several other incidents where Toronto players were clattered - including goalkeeper Milos Kocic inside his six-yard box - the Cuban official didn't see fit to take exception with Tauro challenges.

Man of the Match

Having Johnson back in the lineup was a boost to Toronto who were missing midfielders Torsten Frings (suspended) and Eric Avila (cup tied). The Jamaican international has been a revelation since arriving at BMO in July. He was unlucky to have a goal disallowed at the 69th minute on another disputed call, but moved into second in CCL scoring table with his third of the campaign. Defensively, Johnson contributed with five clearances.

Other players that are top candidates for MOTM are de Guzman (goal, 66 touches, 81% passing), Eckersley (three tackles, seven clearances) and Ty Harden (10 clearances). Dasan Robinson made his TFC debut on Thursday in a 53 minute performance with a team-high four tackles.

Starting XI

Toronto: Milos Kocic; Richard Eckersley, Ty Harden, Andy Iro (Dasan Robinson 37’), Danleigh Borman; Matt Stinson (Ashtone Morgan 45’), Julian de Guzman, Ryan Johnson; Peri Marosevic, Danny Koevermans (Mikael Yourassowsky 58’), Joao Plata ... Substitutes Not Used: Stefan Frei, Nathan Sturgis, Terry Dunfield, Javier Martina ... Goals: Johnson 21' de Guzman 24' ... Caution: Iro 20' Eckersley 31' Stinson 45' Kocic 55' Plata 81' de Guzman 90'

Tauro: Alvaro Anzola; Luis Moreno, Carlos Rodriguez, Leonel Parris, Gabriel Rios (Manuel Vargas 33’), Reinel Herrera; Juan Perez, Juan Barrera, Marcos Sanchez, Diego Canali, Auriel Gallardo (Manuel Vargas 57’)... Goal: Moreno 76'

Following Fixture

MLS Match 27
Sunday, August 21
GOL TV Canada 7 p.m. ET

Like Toronto, Chicago played a midweek match ahead of this rare Sunday night clash. In the midst of a season with two wins in 24 games the Fire drew their league record 15th MLS match against D.C. United in a 1-1 final Thursday night. A frustrated Fire squad must feel they are close to getting over the hump.  With Toronto - one of three teams still winless on the road in MLS action - visiting Bridgeview, Chicago may be forgiven for believing that a victory is within grasp, though Toronto will have Frings and Avila back in the lineup to help counter that notion.

Toronto's next Champions League match is against FC Dallas at BMO Field on Wednesday, August 24. GET TICKETS

Touchline Tales

Toronto took the maximum points, but were heavily taxed for the victory. Not only could the six yellow cards hurt the team greatly in the remaining five round robin matches, forward Danny Koevermans also suffered an injury in the second half that forced him out of the match. The big Dutch target has been a central contributor in Toronto's recent success and will be needed if the Reds are to finish in the top two of Group C on way to quarterfinals.

The referee called an incredible 30 fouls against Toronto versus 11 to Tauro, making it difficult for TFC to gain much momentum. The teams each had an even number of shots on target (four), but Tauro had 17 attempts on goal to Toronto's eight. The biggest major statistical disparity was in the number of corner kicks, a 10-1 Tauro advantage through 60% ball possession.