for this game

Defending MLS Cup champion Crew remain winless

May 3, 2009 - 4:04 AM By RYAN JOHNSTON STATS MLS Correspondent

TORONTO (STATS) - If the Columbus Crew are to rediscover the form that saw them raise the MLS Cup in 2008, they'll need to learn from their mistakes.

Chad Barrett scored in the 64th minute Saturday to give Toronto FC a 1-1 tie with Columbus, which fell to 0-2-5 on the season - the worst start in the franchise's 14-year history and the worst for a defending champion.

"We gave up the same late goal to Chicago and Colorado," Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. "It's frustrating again that we give up the goal from inside the 6-yard box."

Columbus fired nine of its 17 shots on goal compared to just two of five for Toronto (3-2-3), but Barrett's goal stopped the Crew from earning three points.

"I'm happy that we got one point away from home. If you'd ask me before the game if I'd be happy with the point, probably I would have said yes," Warzycha said. "But knowing what I know right now after the game, I would love to have three points because we deserved it."

Columbus opened the scoring in the 54th minute as Emmanuel Ekpo netted his first goal of the year to end Toronto rookie goalkeeper Stefan Frei's shutout streak at 240 minutes.

"I don't think it was so much an individual effort, it began with good team play," Ekpo said of his goal. "But I was glad to get the first one of the year."

Toronto tied the match 10 minutes later when a cross by Sam Cronin found Barrett alone to head the ball past Andy Gruenebaum, who made his second straight start in place of the injured William Hesmer.

Frei, who entered the match riding a 186-minute shutout streak, made a critical stop on Crew substitute Pat Noonan in the 78th minute that preserved the tie.

"As a 'keeper you have to stand up and make the striker make the decision," Frei said of the game-saving stop. "By the time (Noonan) made the decision he was really close to me and I was able to shoot my leg out and make the save."

Frei was called into action in the 24th minute off a long shot from Robbie Rogers. Frei would be tested again in the 31st minute when a mistimed clearance dropped to Alejandro Moreno, who headed his try straight to Frei.

Toronto's best early chance came in the 21st minute, when Pablo Vitti's run was cut down by a charging Gruenebaum. The club also threatened to take the lead in the 71st minute, when a one-time shot from Dwayne De Rosario - seeing his first action after missing two games with a hamstring injury - whipped inches high.

Columbus has never lost to Toronto in eight meetings, winning three and drawing five.

Toronto extended its unbeaten streak to three games (2-0-1) after going winless in its previous four.

"I don't really look at the (standings) at this time of the season," Toronto midfielder Carl Robinson said. "Because everyone beats everyone. I think we're seeing that."

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Story from: STATS LLC, http://www.stats.com.








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    Crew SC 1, Toronto FC 1  2nd - 64'May 2 5:28 PM


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    COLUMBUS GOAL: Emmanuel Ekpo in the 54th minute

    Crew SC 1, Toronto FC 0  2nd - 54'May 2 5:18 PM


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