TORONTO (Saturday, April 29, 2007) -- Striker Eddie Johnson deposited the late decisive goal, giving the Kansas City Wizards a 1-0 decision over FC Toronto, leaving the Major League Soccer expansion team winless and still without a tally after its home opener before 20,158 at BMO Field this afternoon.
Johnson's goal was his third of 2007, tying him with New England Revolution forward Taylor Twellman for the early-season league lead. Johnson also staked K.C. (3-1) to an early 1-0 lead in Wednesday's 3-0 home triumph over Toronto, now 0-4.
"It was a gutsy performance. We defended well and kept our shape very, very well," Wizards coach Curt Onalfo said. "We had an awful lot of opportunities to score and it didn't frustrate our guys until we finally put the ball into the back of the net."
In the 81st minute, midfielder Michael Harrington fed Johnson who curled his drive into the right side of the net for the 1-0 lead.
"Eddie's playing excellent soccer and he's enjoying himself," Onalfo said. "He's taking risks and that's what we want him to do."
Toronto, which has been outscored 10-0 in its four setbacks, quickly went on the attack in an attempt to equalize. TFC kept the ball in the Wizards' end for most of the final five minutes, though the Canadian club could not manage a shot on frame. In fact, Kansas City goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was not called on for a save after intermission, making three for his second clean sheet of the season and the 64th of his career, the most in MLS history.
The Wizards outshot Toronto 12-7, but only 4-3 on target.
Despite the club's poor start, Toronto was welcomed in its home opener by a raucous crowd, clad largely in red and cheering throughout the 90 minutes. The welcome seemed to energize the host club which posted the best 45 minutes of its short history, dominating the pace in the first half and putting three shots on net to but one by the Wizards.
"Any time you get 20,000-plus supporting you like that, you just want to give it your all and get a good result for them," Toronto striker Alecko Eskandarian said. "It just hurt that we couldn't get a good result for them. The fans were truly remarkable and I want to thank every single one of them."
Toronto midfielder Maurice Edu carried into the penalty area, but shot high in the 10th minute. Four minutes later, the first-ever TFC tally nearly came on an own goal. Hartman mishandled a corner kick by Toronto defender Kevin Goldthwaite, but the keeper snagged the ball just before it rolled over the goal-line.
After goalkeeper Greg Sutton made a point-blank stop on Johnson in the 20th minute to kept Toronto level, Eskandarian's individual effort nearly allowed Toronto to jump ahead in the 32nd minute. He carried the ball deep into K.C. territory zone and slipped by two defenders before threading a pass to his strike partner Danny Dichio. The Englishman's quick shot was blocked by Wizards defender Jack Jewsbury and Goldthwaite could not convert the rebound.
"We've got a lot of guys here that are getting to know each other and unfortunately it's going to take a little time before they can really gel," Sutton said.
Toronto committed 27 fouls -- seven more than the next highest total this year -- to 17 for the Wizards. Edu, who was not cautioned, was whistled for eight fouls, more than any other player in 2007.
"I felt our fans were magnificent," Toronto coach Mo Johnston said. "For the first time in a long time, I had goose bumps for a game and I felt they were wonderful. I felt really bad sending them home losing 1-0."