Ryan Nelson loses first game in charge of Toronto FC, beaten 1-0 by Columbus | iNFOnews

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Ryan Nelson loses first game in charge of Toronto FC, beaten 1-0 by Columbus

February 09, 2013 - 12:08 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. - Ryan Nelsen lost his first outing as manager Saturday as Toronto FC dropped a 1-0 pre-season Major League Soccer decision to the Columbus Crew at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.

Columbus fielded a strong starting 11, missing only a few regulars. It was a more experimental lineup for Toronto with Nelsen, a former New Zealand international defender, who emptied his bench in the second half to make the afternoon more of a scrimmage.

Toronto looked far more the work in progress, with players often not having many passing options or choosing the wrong one. But the sunny, breezy afternoon contest seemed more about getting everyone minutes than obtaining a result.

Toronto came close to tying it in the 81st, but Terry Dunfield's header hit the post off an Ashton Bennett cross.

There was a painful moment for Toronto late in the first half when goalkeeper Stefan Frei, diving for a ball, got clipped by the boot of burly Crew rookie striker Ryan Finley, who was booked on the play.

Frei, who had been out since last March with a leg and ankle injury, was down for a while before exiting with a towel pressed to his face. Frei, who was taken to hospital for further evaluation, gave way to Joe Bendik.

Former German international Torsten Frings made his return from hip surgery as a Toronto substitute in the second half.

The Montreal Impact, under new Swiss coach Marco Schallibaum, played Sporting Kansas City in a later game.

Toronto opened with rookies Emery Welshman and Jonathan Osorio in midfield.

The Crew had most of the possession in the first half, but did little with it until the 30th minute.

The breakthrough goal came from Brazilian debutante defender Glauber, who shed his marker on a Frederico Higuain corner in the 30th minute. Glauber angled his header from distance, with the ball deflecting in off the crossbar past the outstretched hands of Frei.

Toronto had two good chances via free kicks on the edge of the box in the half, but Darren O'Dea's shot hit the wall and Luis Silva's effort as topped by Andy Gruenebaum.

Frei wore the captain's armband, with the 36-year-old Frings starting on the bench. Frings got the armband back as he entered, from O'Dea.

Brazilian holding midfielder Julio Cesar made his Toronto debut at the start of the second half, as did Argentine midfielder Nicolas Cabrera in the first wave of widespread changes.

Gruenebaum stopped Silva in the 56th minute. The sophomore forward, playing just behind Justin Braun, had a good game.

The games took place at the Wide World of Sports complex, which was also hosting cheerleading and girls' field hockey tournaments.

The tournament resumes Feb, 13 when Montreal plays the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL and Toronto faces Orlando City Soccer Club of the USL.

Like Toronto, Columbus has been rebuilding.

The Crew (15-12-7) have shed 11 players from last season. Toronto FC (5-21-8) has seen 12 players move on.

New Columbus additions this week included Glauber, Argentine midfielder Matías Sanchez and former Chicago Fire forward Dominic Oduro. All three started Saturday along with new defensive midfielder Augustin Viana and Finley.

Crew assistant coach Duncan Oughton played with Nelsen for New Zealand.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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