Sunday April 3rd, 2011

From Dwayne De Rosario's New York debut to Vancouver's wild comeback, here are five quick thoughts from Saturday's early MLS action ...

1. De Rosario fallout, Part I. It's been a wild weekend north of the border. After Toronto FC's trade of captain and All-Star Dwayne De Rosario to New York on Friday turned out to be anything but an April Fool's joke, Toronto turned the page with a come-from-behind 1-1 draw with Chivas USA.

Its first 30 minutes or so of the post-De Rosario era were quite forgettable. The team looked disorganized and out of sorts, yielded an awful early goal and made Chivas' attack resemble that of a powerhouse. As the match wore on, though, it's clear to see that a weight has been lifted and that the new pieces will help. Even though Danleigh Borman turned in a shocker of a first half, he calmed down and showed decent distribution from his slot at left back. Tony Tchani was steady and influential in central midfield and can potentially give the Reds a presence that has been lacking ever since Maurice Edu left for Scotland.

Toronto's season is still very much going to be about rebuilding from the bottom up, with a new coach, new system and essentially a new team calling BMO Field home. TFC fans who feel slighted by the team shipping its cornerstone to New York, though, can be excited about the likes of the dynamic Javier Martina while understanding that the team received decent value in return for its much-maligned superstar. While there is plenty of work to be done, an unpleasant chapter of the team's history, one that should have ended in a much different manner, has finally come to a close.

2. De Rosario fallout, Part II. Toronto's loss took about a minute to become New York's gain. De Rosario entered the Red Bulls' 1-1 draw with Houston as a halftime substitute for (soon-to-be-former) No. 10 Mehdi Ballouchy and immediately made an impact against his other former team.

Upon taking his first touch, De Rosario found an empty pocket of space down the center and laced a long pass to Dane Richards, who raced in and beat an otherwise-superb Tally Hall for a 47th-minute goal to open the scoring after a rather dull first half for the Red Bulls' attack.

De Rosario almost scored the winner in the 87th minute, as he went unmarked into the center of the area for a Joel Lindpere cross but mishit the ball with his eye instead of his forehead to send his effort a couple of yards wide. In extremely limited time as a Red Bull, De Rosario already looked to click with his new star-studded teammates. It's scary to imagine what they might be able to accomplish together after a practice session or two.

3. What was Maicon Santos thinking? There are bad decisions, there are regrettable decisions and then there's whatever was going through Maicon Santos' mind near the hour mark of Toronto's draw with Chivas.

After Alan Gordon played Santos in on goal with a splendid through ball, Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy vacated his net and ran out at the Toronto striker near the top of the area, while defender Andrew Boyens tracked back from behind. Their convergence left Toronto midfielder Alen Stevanovic all alone in the box with an empty net ahead of him. With the simplest of passes to the left from Santos, the Reds would've had the lead and presumably two more points, not to mention a massive emotional lift in the aftermath of the De Rosario trade. Instead, Santos -- who inherited the captain's armband from De Rosario no less -- tried to do it all on his own and ended up shanking a shot wide while under pressure.

4. Bunbury braces Whitecaps fans for the worst ... Teal Bunbury's Q Score might never improve in Canada. It certainly won't after what he did Saturday night. The former Canadian-youth-international-turned-U.S.-national-team forward scored twice behind enemy lines in Sporting Kansas City's 3-3 draw with Vancouver.

Showered with boos and chants of "Traitor!" every time he touched the ball at Empire Field, Bunbury, whose father was a former Canadian national team star, scored first-class goals on either side of halftime to silence the hostile crowd. To Bunbury's credit, he exhibited sporting behavior by not celebrating either of his goals, although his teammates swarmed him both times nonetheless.

5. ... but Whitecaps fans get the last laugh. And they have Camilo to thank. The 22-year-old Brazilian striker's two shocking stoppage-time goals rescued a point for Vancouver, which trailed K.C. 3-0 before mounting a furious comeback in the final 17 minutes of an exhilarating draw. The tables started to turn with the introductions of Nizar Khalfan and Davide Chiumiento into the match after Kei Kamara had given the visitors their 3-0 advantage in the 62nd minute.

Khalfan's energy on the left was infectious, and he set up Atiba Harris for the first Whitecaps tally with a well-placed cross to the goalmouth. Kansas City center back Julio Cesar had to exit with an injury soon thereafter, softening the middle of the team's defense and giving the Whitecaps another advantage.

Chiumiento, who was a central part of the team's season-opening win but missed the last game with an injury, put Camilo's first stoppage-time goal on a platter after a great long pass from Terry Dunfield. About 90 seconds later, Khalfan lofted a cross toward Camilo in the middle of the area, and his header found the upper right-hand corner of the goal. Khalfan almost won the game with a long-range effort that missed by a couple of feet and sent K.C. keeper Jimmy Nielsen into a frenzy directed at his beat-up back line. Considering all of K.C.'s attacking prowess, there's something disconcerting about scoring eight goals in three games and having a win, a loss and a tie to show for it.

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