By JOSE M. ROMERO
Tony Tchani's first goal for his new team also got him sent off with a second yellow. His dismissal helped the Columbus Crew take a point on the road in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Tchani's side, Toronto FC.
The second-year midfielder guided in a long ball from teammate Julian de Guzman in the 41st minute. His decision to celebrate by jumping over the field barrier and into the crowd at BMO Field got him a second yellow, and then a red, from referee David Gantar.
The Crew was able to take advantage of the missing player on the field for TFC, as Emilio Renteria headed in a cross from midfielder Dilly Duka in the 49th minute.
Columbus (2-1-3), a surprise thus far in MLS play, still hasn't lost a league match since its MLS opener on March 19 and remained unbeaten in 12 all-time meetings with Toronto FC.
TFC earned its fourth draw in the past five MLS matches and sits at 1-2-4, having begun a stretch of seven games over the next 22 days that includes two Nutrilite Canadian Championship matches against FC Edmonton.
Tchani's goal and subsequent ejection was the turning point of the match. The former New York Red Bulls draft pick was booked for dissent of a foul call against a teammate earlier in the first half.
There was precedent for a yellow card being shown for unsporting behavior. It happened in MLS earlier this season when Vancouver's Eric Hassli was booked for taking off his jersey after scoring a goal at home against the New England Revolution. Hassli, who'd picked up a yellow card earlier, was sent off.
As for Saturday, Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei came up big several times, as did his counterpart William Hesmer for the Crew. Hesmer stopped two shots in the 19th and 26th minutes from Alan Gordon and Javier Martina, both who played well before being subbed out.
The Crew's Robbie Rogers had a chance in front after TFC defender Dicoy Williams — making his first start of the season — lost the ball to Renteria, who fed Rogers for a shot that went wide of Frei in the 35th minute.
After Renteria's goal, the Crew attacked with even more regularity but missed shots or had them stopped by Frei, who saw 16 Crew shots compared to seven for the home team. The substitution of 19-year-old Joao Plata in the 77th minute gave a spark to TFC, with Plata making two strong and fast runs though neither led to goals.
In the 90th minute, defender Chad Marshall headed a ball right to Frei, and that was the last time the Crew threatened before the final whistle.