Caps win, Toronto whines - The Province

Eric Koreen

TFC sour over first home loss this season

TORONTO - The Toronto FC faithful at BMO Field are creative. Sometimes, they are even witty. Tuesday, they had their words shoved back in their mouths.

About halfway though TFC's Nutrilite Canadian Championship game against the Vancouver Whitecaps, the fans started to chant, "U-S-L, U-S-L." It was a reference to Whitecaps' league, USL First Division, which is a step below TFC's Major League Soccer.

Well, score one for the little guy. Vancouver, on the strength of a controversial penalty kick, earned a 1-0 win over TFC on Tuesday, marking the first time TFC has lost at BMO Field all year.

Whitecaps coach Teitur Thordarson and his Vancouver team savoured every moment.

"It's fantastic," said Thordarson.

"This reminds me a lot of Europe. It's not only fantastic for the home team, but for us coming here."

Despite the victory, Vancouver could have used more goals to have a shot at winning the three-team tournament. The first tiebreaker is goal differential.

"We had more than enough chances to make up the goal difference, which we were hoping for," said Thordarson.

"We can be sad about that. But we played a fantastic game and I thought we were unfortunate to score only once."

The winner of the tournament will go on to play a Nicaraguan team in the CONCACAF Champions League. Montreal has earned six points through three games. TFC has three points through two games, while Vancouver earned its first win to go with two losses.

Vancouver hosts the return match next Wednesday.

TFC coach John Carver was irate after the game.

"That's the way it looked to me today: that we could just go out there and go through the motions," said Carver.

"They couldn't pass the ball. There was no communication. There was nothing. It was lifeless. It was lacklustre."

TFC players were left to complain about a result many of them felt was unjust.

Vancouver's lone goal came after TFC's Jim Brennan was called for hauling down Jeff Clarke in the box away from the ball on a corner kick. Martin Nash converted from the penalty spot in the 36th minute.

"These are days a professional athlete lives for," said Nash, a Canadian international. "That's why you do it. It's a treat for us. It was an amazing crowd and an amazing atmosphere."

Although Carver was reluctant to use the goal as an excuse, he did joke that the last time he saw an obstruction call on a corner kick away from the box was in 1945.

"(Clarke) went down awfully easy," Brennan said.

© The Vancouver Province 2008