Reds Downed By Dynamo

Toronto led twice but couldn't hold off Houston in 3-2 preseason loss.

Toronto FC fell to a 3-2 defeat against Houston Dynamo in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic in Florida on Thursday night. The Reds twice led the game in the first half but the Dynamo fought back and won the game thanks to Cam Weaver’s goal in the 69th minute.

NOTE: Toronto will face Orlando City Saturday, February 26 at 6 p.m. live on TorontoFC.ca

Playing their first game against MLS opposition this preseason, new Toronto Head Coach Aron Winter included a number of trialists in his 4-3-3 formation. Winter handed starts to Ivo de Heus, Mikael Yourassowsky and Jamal Gay who all joined the team in Florida earlier this week.

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In a lively opening to the game, Toronto took an early lead when former Colorado winger Jacob Peterson scored from a tight angle in the seventh minute following a through ball by Nick LaBrocca. But the lead was short lived for Winter’s team and the Reds goal was cancelled out just three minutes later as the Dynamo pulled level when Lovel Palmer crossed to Geoff Cameron who controlled on his chest and fired past Stefan Frei.

Soon after tying the game, the Dynamo had two chances to double their advantage. First a Brad Davis free kick was headed against the crossbar by Eddie Robinson, and then in the 20th minute, Brian Ching forced a save from Frei.

Toronto regained the lead just before the half hour when Gay was brought down in the penalty area by Andrew Hainault. Toronto captain Dwayne De Rosario stepped up to take the penalty and scored his first goal of preseason to make it 2-1.

Once again, Toronto failed to hold onto their lead as Brad Davis scored with a free kick two minutes before half time. The Dynamo were awarded a free kick just to the right of goal on the edge of the penalty area and Davis showed why he is one of the best set piece takers in Major League Soccer by curling the ball around the wall and into the top left corner.

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In first half stoppage time, Toronto went close to scoring a third goal, but a header from Gay dropped just wide of the right post.

Toronto FC made four changes at half time including Dan Gargan replacing Demetrius Omphroy at right back. Matt Stinson, Nick Soolsma and Gianluca Zavarise also came into the game with Nana Attakora, Nick LaBrocca and Javier Martina making way. Ivo de Heus dropped back from midfield into the centre of defence.

The second half started more slowly than the first with very few opportunities for either team in the opening 15 minutes of the half, and both coaches made further changes at the hour mark. De Rosario left the game for Toronto and was replaced by Academy midfielder Oscar Cordon. Jamal Gay made way for Maicon Santos, who has recovered from the injury that kept him out of full training during the team’s time in Toronto last week.

Houston had the first clear chance of the second half just after the three quarter point, and they made it count. Cam Weaver scored from a Danny Cruz cross to make it 3-2 and give Houston their first lead of the night.

Toronto SuperDraft pick Joao Plata came into the game moments after the Houston goal, and won a corner in the 71st minute after a sweeping cross-field ball from Gianluca Zavarise. As Toronto continued to pressure the Dynamo, Santos fired over the bar from long distance in the 72nd minute.

Will Bruin had two good chances to put the game out of Toronto’s reach within the space of two minutes. First, Bruin saw a shot blocked by de Heus after a giveaway by Adrian Cann in the 81st minute, and then he was denied by an excellent save by Stefan Frei.

Toronto couldn’t find a levelling goal in the closing stages and fell to a 3-2 defeat. They will now play Orlando City on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. in a match that will be broadcast live online on TorontoFC.ca.

Scoring Summary:
Toronto FC: Jacob Peterson 7’, Dwayne De Rosario (pen) 30’
Houston Dynamo: Geoff Cameron 10’, Brad Davis 43’, Cam Weaver 69’

Toronto FC (4-3-3): Stefan Frei, Demitrius Omphroy (Dan Gargan 46’), Adrian Cann, Nana Attakora (Matt Stinson 46’), Mikael Yourassowsky, Ivo de Heus, Nick LaBrocca (Nick Soolsma 46’), Dwayne De Rosario (Oscar Cordon 60’), Javier Martina (Gianluca Zavarise 46’), Jacob Peterson (Joao Plata 69’), Jamal Gay (Maicon Santos 60’)

Houston Dynamo (4-4-2): Tally Hall (Tyler Deric 60’), Mike Chabala (Jordan Graye 62’), Andrew Hainault (Bobby Boswell 46’), Eddie Robinson (Jermaine Taylor 46’), Kofi Sarkodie (Hunter Freeman 46’), Geoff Cameron, Lovel Palmer (Alex Dixon 62’), Corey Ashe (Josue Sotu 64’), Brad Davis (Danny Cruz 46’), Brian Ching (Will Bruin 23’, Navas Cobo 87’), Jason Garey (Cam Weaver 46’)