Defoe scores 3rd goal, Toronto tops United 1-0

Defoe scores 3rd goal, Toronto tops United 1-0
March 22, 2014, 7:45 pm

TORONTO (AP) -- England star Jermain Defoe scored his third MLS goal in two games to lift Toronto FC to a 1-0 win over D.C. United in Toronto's home opener Saturday.

Defoe scored twice in his MLS debut last week in Seattle and could have had four goals on the day before he finally scored in the 60th minute after Brazilian strike partner Gilberto was sent in alone by a beautiful through ball from U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley.

Goalie Bill Hamid made the save but the ball was cleared only as far as Defoe, who got the ball out from under his feet and hammered home a right-footed shot.

The goal featured all three of TFC's designated players and helped Toronto (2-0-0) to its best ever start to a season. D.C. United (0-2-0) has yet to score this season after being beaten 3-0 by the Columbus Crew in its season opener two weeks ago.

Defoe's three goals would have tied him for third overall in Toronto FC scoring over the entire 2013 season.

The 31-year-old forward set up Dwayne De Rosario in the 76th minute but the Canadian was unable to beat Hamid. Defoe had another yet chance in stoppage time but he shot high and wide as a fan ran on the pitch during the attack.

After a brutal winter that included one last snowfall overnight, the ravaged grass at BMO Field made for a choppy game.

At one point in the first half, an attempted cross by Brazilian winger Jackson turned into a moonshot on the loose, bumpy surface. That did not stop one of TFC's sponsors, which sells lawn fertilizer and other products, from setting up signs on the field at halftime.

Still Toronto -- wearing its new onyx uniforms -- had the better chances, with Bradley pulling the strings in midfield and Defoe and Gilberto showing signs of a promising partnership up front.

Toronto won its season opener 2-1 last weekend in Seattle while Gilberto nursed a quadriceps injury. That means just two games into the 2014 schedule, Toronto already has one-third of the victories it collected last season when the team went 6-17-11.

The team's previous best start was 1-0-1 in 2009. In 2012, it took the team 14 games to record two victories.

While an overnight snowfall had dissipated by kickoff, fans had to contend with a partial shutdown of the subway system as well as an AHL game and the National Home Show on the Exhibition grounds.