Toronto FC Beats Chicago Fire, 3-1

The Associated Press
Saturday, May 12, 2007; 11:18 PM

TORONTO -- Striker Danny Dichio scored Toronto FC's first goal, and the expansion Major League Soccer team went on to get its first win in five games, a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Tied 1-1 after the first half, Toronto FC put Chicago away with a pair of second-half goals before a raucous crowd at BMO Field.

Fullback Kevin Goldthwaite gave Toronto a 2-1 lead in the 51st minute with a low left-footed shot. Rookie midfielder Maurice Edu made it 3-1 in the 75th with a left-footed shot after substitute Andrea Lombardo found him alone in the box.

"I said when we get the first goal, they're going to come in numbers. Today we got three," Edu said.

Dichio got the ball rolling in the opening 45 minutes by notching a couple of firsts for Toronto, scoring the first goal and then earning the first red card in franchise history.

It took Toronto 384 minutes to score and the goal sent BMO Field into a frenzy. Commemorative white seat cushions, provided free as part of what was dubbed the stadium's official opening weekend, doubled as Frisbees as fans tossed them out of the stands.

"It was impressive," Fire coach Dave Sarachan said. "It was very passionate, very loud. ... They were a 12th man for that group today. It was a great atmosphere."

The goal came in the 24th minute, when Edson Buddle drove into the penalty box, raking a low cross across to Dichio. Parked in front of goal, the big English striker stuck out a leg and managed to tap the ball in while falling backward.

The joy was short-lived as Chicago equalized off a corner in the 36th minute. The ball came out to Chris Rolfe at the edge of the box and the striker scored his fourth of the season on a hard rising shot through traffic from the edge of the box.

There was trouble in the 43rd minute when Chicago goalie Matt Pickens objected to the way Dichio challenged for the ball in front of the goal. An enraged Pickens picked himself off the ground and headed straight to Dichio. Shoves were exchanged, drawing a flood of players into the fracas.

When the dust settled, Dichio and Fire midfielder Diego Gutierrez were ejected, with Dichio leaving to a standing ovation. Replays showed that Pickens may have had a legitimate beef with the 6-foot-3 striker, who was using his arms and legs to make a nuisance of himself with the goalie.

There were 25 fouls in the first half alone.

Toronto came out firing in the second, with Edu and Ronnie O'Brien forcing Pickens to stop accurate long-range efforts before Goldthwaite scored.

The game was the second straight at home for Toronto, which started with three losses on the road.

"The odds were in their favor that they were going to score goals and win a game, and it happened today," Sarachan said, "unfortunately for us."

© 2007 The Associated Press