Photo by ISIphotos.com
Photo by ISIphotos.com
By KURTIS LARSON
A Chad Barrett opener in the 31st minute coupled with two second-half Dwayne De Rosario strikes was enough to lead Toronto FC to a 3-1 victory against San Jose on Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The victory, Toronto FC's sixth straight result in all competition, is the club's first on the road since last July, when the Canadian squad defeated San Jose at Buck Shaw Stadium by the same margin.
"The group defended hard and together and we'll take the points," TFC's Preki told reporters after the game. "It's a game of 11 guys sticking together and working together and understanding how to defend and attack as a unit. We're still not where we want to be but we're in a good (place)."
TFC came into the match riding a streak of four straight shutouts and extended their shutout streak to nearly 490 minutes before San Jose captain Ramiro Corrales cut a two-goal lead in half off a corner that brought the score to 2-1 in the 76th minute.
Throughout the match San Jose had difficulty breaking through TFC's back four. Adrian Cann and Nana Attakora proved for a fourth straight MLS contest that they, at the moment, might be one of the best center back tandems in the league winning everything in the air and stymieing an upstart San Jose attack that saw the Quakes win three of their last four.
"I thought we were flat," Frank Yallop said in a post-game interview. "Once you concede and you don't get going then you're not confident. We were not confident tonight."
The teams looked destined to stay locked at 0-0 heading into the half until Barrett capitalized on a costly mistake when miscommunication between San Jose's Jason Hernandez and Joe Cannon lead to a collision between the pair allowing Barrett to slip the ball into an open net for his fourth goal of the year.
The second-half saw Preki make two changes bringing on De Rosario and Julian De Guzman which paid dividends when TFC went two up in the 66th minute after De Rosario raced on to a chipped in through-ball from Dan Gargan. De Rosario beat an onrushing Joe Cannon at the top of the box tapping it just past the veteran keeper.
After doubling the lead, TFC sat back in a defensive shell allowing San Jose to throw bodies forward. The Quakes finally ended TFC's shutout streak when Corrales met a Bobby Convey corner 15 minutes from time to add drama to the final quarter hour of the match.
"We found a way to get a lead in the first half and we found a way to score (early) in the second," Preki said. "I knew the game was a long way from being over because you get a lead and you become relaxed. Give them credit because they pushed the tempo and got a goal and threw a lot of guys forward."
TFC keeper Stefan Frei was forced into making a few late saves to preserve the 2-1 lead as San Jose pushed for an equalizer. Toronto FC's back four stayed compact in denying the Quakes a share of the points.
"Tonight we had a great defensive effort throughout the team," TFC defender Adrian Cann said. "Hats off to the players that are coming off the bench and are doing a great job. The team is versatile and whoever goes on the field is going to do their thing."
"It starts in training," Preki said. "They all understand their roles and how we want to play and that translates into games. We're the second youngest team in the league and these guys are getting better every day."
De Rosario tacked on a late goal in stoppage time after Joe Cannon had moved forward for a late restart. De Rosario found himself alone in front of the Quakes goal for an easy tap in bringing his season total to eight goals and sending TFC into second place in the east. The Quakes remain tied for third in the west on 16 points with Colorado and Houston.