By DAVE GUBALA
Toronto FC defeated the Columbus Crew for the very first time in franchise history in a six-goal thriller and were able to lift the Trillum Cup on Saturday night at Crew Stadium.
It was a back and forth game from the very start.
Tommy Heinemann reduced Toronto's lead to one in the 67th minute but the Crew were unable to respond as Julian de Guzman netted a third goal in the 87th minute. Sparks of hope lit up when Andres Mendoza cut the lead to 3-2 in the 87th minute, however Toronto struck the dagger five minute later when Danny Koevermans finished off the match with TFC's fourth goal in a 4-2 victory.
It took 21 minutes for the first goal to come for Toronto FC. Eric Avila's corner kick was poorly cleared out by Sebastian Miranda and fell into the feet of Torsten Frings. The former German international then whipped it back into traffic where the ball coincidentally fell into Nick Soolsma, who turned and shot quickly past Will Hesmer.
About twenty minutes later, Ryan Johnson made it 2-0 in favor of Toronto. A floating ball found Johnson and Crew's Gardner back-pedaling to get at the end of it but it was the big Toronto striker that got the head on it. Johnson redirected the ball toward goal and past the wrong-footed Will Hemser to double the lead.
A third goal was in the makings for Toronto FC, however Eric Avila's beauty of a shot from distance saw nothing but crossbar.
The second half started out much better one for the Crew. Tommy Heinemann struck home a well-orchestrated play from the Crew in the 67th minute with Emmanuel Ekpo initially finding Robbie Rogers on the left flank who then found the rookie streaking in the center of the box. The lead was cut in half and it was game on.
Despite pushing number forward, Columbus could not find a second.
In the 83rd minute, Julian de Guzman placed a well-driven shot that beat Hesmer near post. A soft goal that threw heavy weight on the home side.
Columbus were not done yet. Just four minute later, they managed to pull one back to make it 3-2. Andres Mendoza struck a wonderful shot into the roof of the net after having it laid off by the much-involved Tommy Heinemann. With a little over five minutes left to play, the Crew had brought some hope in this game.
It was clearly meant to be win for Toronto as they found the back of the net for a fourth and final time. Julian de Guzman played a well-picked out ball to Danny Koevermans, who dance around Will Hesmer outside the box and shot it home to make it 4-2 Toronto FC.
The loss was the Crew's second high-scoring defeat in three weeks after falling to the Seattle Sounders 6-2 on August 27. They now look forward to hoisting the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday.
Toronto FC travel to Pumas UNAM on Sept. 14 as well in continuation of their CONCACAF Champions League 2011/12 campaign.