REACTION: Oduro the difference in Toronto
In a first half that saw both sides squander multiple chances, it was Dominic Oduro's tally just before the halftime whistle that lifted the Crew (4-4-3) to a 1-0 road victory over Toronto FC (1-6-4) on Saturday evening at BMO Field. Argentine playmaker Federico Higuaín found a seam between two Toronto defenders to lob the game-winning assist to the speedy Ghanaian striker to set the tone heading into the halftime break.
"It was a great ball by Higuaín," Oduro, who leads the Crew with five goals this season, said after the match. "I think that we were able to make that eye contact.
"The goalie narrowed the angle on me, but I saw the opening when the ball went in front of me and I was able to lace it right there."
The win ended a two-match skid for the Crew after losing back-to-back home matches to the New York Red Bulls and Colorado Rapids. Though the Black & Gold were unable to dictate the possession and play as they did in the home losses, they were able to secure the all-important three points at the end of the 90 minutes. The victory marked the Crew's third road win already in 2013.
"We did okay," Oduro admitted. "I don't think it was one of our best games on the road, but at the end of the day we were able to grind it out and come out with the three points. That's what was really needed."
The forward continued: "During the other games that we lost, I don't think we really played that bad. We were just unfortunate. This is an occasion of how good we are, especially on the road. We just have to keep believing in ourselves and keep [playing well on the road] and we should be fine."
GEHRIG PERFORMS WELL IN PLACE OF MARSHALL
Third-year pro Eric Gehrig made his first start of 2013 in central defense on Saturday to replace an injured Chad Marshall. Gehrig performed well alongside Gláuber in the backline, helping the Crew to its third shutout of the season.
"[Gehrig] was very solid," Head Coach Robert Warzycha said. "Maybe in the first half he had a couple times he was hesitating to clear the ball or deciding where he was going to pass it, but the second half was very clean."
Gehrig had been patiently awaiting an opportunity this season, sitting behind established veterans Marshall and Gláuber on the Crew's depth chart.
"I was excited for the opportunity," Gehrig said. "This is my third year as a pro, and I've worked really hard along with a lot of other guys in this locker room. I was happy that I got the call. It's hard not having regular games here and there, but at the end of the day you can't have any excuses.
"We got the shutout. We won, so I must've done something right."
Warzycha will be forced to make changes yet again to his backline as Gláuber picked up his fifth yellow card of the season to result in a one-match suspension and leftback Tyson Wahl left with a knock. However, Warzycha is relishing the Black & Gold's victory instead of worrying about next week.
"We just won the game," he said. "We'll see next week who's available and who will make the team."