Defoe scores twice on MLS debut for Toronto
SEATTLE (AP) — Ex-Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe scored twice in the first half of his Major League Soccer debut on Saturday, helping new-look Toronto FC hold off the Seattle Sounders 2-1.
Defoe’s debut upstaged the return of U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley to MLS in his first game for Toronto. Defoe and Bradley were the centerpieces of a major offseason makeover by Toronto that also included the acquisition of Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar on loan.
All three made their season debut against Seattle after Toronto had a bye in the first week of the season. Defoe had the most influence, giving Toronto the lead in the 17th minute, then adding a second goal seven minutes later from a careless Seattle turnover.
“The most important thing is obviously winning the game,” Defoe said. “To score two goals in your debut, that’s a dream.”
Defoe’s first MLS goal was a quick counter when he was able to find space between Seattle defenders DeAndre Yedlin and Djimi Traore. Defoe received a perfect pass from Jonathan Osorio as he split the defenders and beat Stefan Frei with the right-foot shot.
His second goal came in the 25th when he swooped on a poor back pass by Seattle’s Marco Pappa.
Clint Dempsey scored in the 68th minute for Seattle.
In other matches Saturday, Vicente Sanchez’ penalty in the 72nd minute earned the Colorado Rapids a 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls, while Matt Hedges scored a late goal and made a crucial goal-line clearance in stoppage time as FC Dallas held on for a 1-1 draw at Sporting Kansas City.
Will Bruin scored in the 40th minute to help Houston to a 1-0 win at home against Montreal, and Philadelphia had a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution.
At Santa Clara, Victor Bernardez scored twice, including the equalizer deep in stoppage time, as the Earthquakes recovered from a two-goal deficit and extended their unbeaten streak at Buck Shaw stadium to 21 games in all competitions with a 3-3 draw against Real Salt Lake.
The result at Harrison, New Jersey was contentious, with questions over the decision to award a penalty to Colorado after Marvin Chavez was bumped to the ground in the area.
Thierry Henry’s header gave the Red Bulls the lead in the 57th minute and Sanchez provided the equalizer from the spot after substitute referee Alan Kelly awarded the penalty.
The Professional Referee Organization, which manages on-field officials for Major League Soccer, has locked out officials from the Professional Soccer Referees Association, because the two sides have failed to reach agreement on a contract after the officials formed a union last year.