Columbus beat big-spending Toronto after red card

Sun Mar 15, 2015 12:42am EDT
 
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By Simon Evans

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - Big-spending Toronto FC lost 2-0 to Columbus Crew in Major League Soccer on Saturday after being forced to play the second half with 10 men.

The Canadian side had defender Justin Morrow sent off a minute before half-time when referee David Gantar ruled that the full-back had brought down Ethan Finley on the edge of the area.

Video replays suggested, however, that Morrow had won the ball with his sliding tackle and Toronto players furiously protested the decision but to no avail.

Columbus, playing intelligent, sharp, passing soccer through midfield, took full advantage of having an extra man and grabbed the lead in the 57th minute when Finlay’s cross was headed in by Justin Meram.

Four minutes later Kei Kamara doubled the home side’s advantage, the Sierra Leone forward getting on the end of Waylon Francis's cross to slot home from close range.

Toronto, who have yet to make the playoffs since joining the league in 2007, invested heavily in the off-season, bringing in Sebastian Giovinco from Juventus and Jozy Altidore from Sunderland.

They also brought in midfielder Michael Bradley from AS Roma midway through last season. The trio are among the biggest earners in MLS but were unable to provide much of a threat to a solid Columbus defense well-marshalled by Emanuel Pogatetz.

While the red card clearly changed the game, Toronto skipper Bradley said he was more disappointed by the way the team failed to deliver their best.   Continued...

 
Mar 14, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Toronto FC midfielder Sebastian Giovinco (10) shoots the ball in the first half of the game against the Columbus Crew at Mapfre Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports