Toronto’s post-season aspirations on life support.
Conversely, pending the results of the Columbus-San Jose match, the Canadian side is eight points out of the last playoff spot with three games remaining in the MLS regular season.
Toronto took the early lead on Dwayne De Rosario’s goal in the 16th minute. The tally ended Seattle’s three-game shutout streak.
Seattle responded with two goals in the first half on strikes by Steve Zakuani and Blaise Nkufo. Sanna Nyassi completed the scoring for Seattle with a goal in the 59th minute.
Toronto struck first De Rosario’s 13th goal of the season. The Canadian native was the recipient of a picture-perfect pass from forward Macon Santos. With two defenders closing down on him, De Rosario struck a right-footed shot that beat Kasey Keller inside the near post to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Seattle responded five minutes later with a goal by Zakuani. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso’s long pass was placed several yards in front of Toronto goal. Zakuani beat the Toronto ‘keeper to the ball, and used a soft touch to his right to bypass Frei. The maneuver gave the former MLS first round pick a free shot at the net that tied the match at 1-1. It was Zakuani’s 9th of the year.
In the 25th minute, Toronto forward Chad Barrett fouled James Riley near the right touchline. Referee Geiger felt the tackle warranted a caution and out came the yellow to the Toronto forward. On the subsequent free kick taken by Nathan Sturgis, striker Blaise Nkufo was open on a free header in front of the goal. The burly forward redirected it into the net for his fifth goal in three games. Seattle now led 2-1.
The statistics bore out the Rave Green’s offensive domination in the first half. Seattle held the edge in total shots (8-3) and those on target (3-1).
Sturgis, who earlier received an assist on Nkufo’s goal, hit a 30+ yard kick on a backpass that eluded everyone inside the box. Sturgis’ long-range strike required Frei to extend his right hand inside the left post to make the stop.
Sanna Nyassi scored Seattle’s third goal in the 59th minute. With Zakuani making one of his patented runs on the left side, the winger sent a cross towards the six-yard box. Toronto defender Adrian Cann sent his clearance to the Gambian midfielder. Nyassi nailed his strike for his first MLS career goal.
Fredy Montero, scoreless since August 28, failed to convert Alonso’s pass in the 76th minute into a goal. Positioned to the right of the six yard box, the Colombian thought he’d found an opening to the left of Frei. The Toronto goalie responded by extending his arms to prevent a fourth Seattle goal.
Toronto kept its hopes alive with a Chad Barrett tally in the 89th minute. Substitute midfielder Nicholas Lindsay moved inside the box and crossed the ball to the former Chicago Fire forward. Barrett’s header found the net and closed the Seattle gap to a one-goal lead.
Seattle managed to keep its composure and held on for the win. The Sounders finished the game with 17 total shots compared to eight for the visitors.
The Rave Green will attempt to secure their second consecutive U.S. Open Cup trophy when they host the Columbus Crew in the final on Tuesday. Toronto FC’s next MLS encounter is on Saturday, October 9 at the Home Depot Center in a matchup against Chivas USA.
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