- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 28, 2009

COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP) - Guillermo Barros Schelotto scored on a penalty kick before Columbus teammate Gino Padula had an own goal to give Toronto FC a 1-1 tie with the Crew on Saturday.

Kevin Harmse was called for a handball inside the Toronto penalty area after Schelotto’s crossing pass hit Harmse in the arm from close range. Referee Michael Kennedy did not hesitate in signaling for the penalty kick, which drew protests from the Toronto players and bench.

Schelotto drilled the kick past goalkeeper Stefan Frei in the 30th minute for his second goal in two games.

Columbus (0-0-2) held the lead until Toronto midfielder Dwayne De Rosario’s long free kick was headed toward the Crew goal by Padula in the 84th minute. The ball deflected off the crossbar, hit goalkeeper William Hesmer in the back of the head and bounced into the net to tie the score for Toronto (1-0-1).

“Basically the ball hit me and went in the top corner,” Padula said. “Sometimes that happens … It was very fast, and I was very unlucky, I think.”



Toronto coach John Carver, however, didn’t seem to feel the gift goal was less than his team deserved.

“If you look at the possession, I think most of the game was played in the other half of the pitch,” Carver said. “Although we didn’t create a great deal of chances, I thought we took the game to them and had a go at them.”

It was a disappointing finish for Columbus coach Robert Warzycha in his first home game at the helm. The longtime Crew player and former assistant coach was given control of the team after Sigi Schmid left during the offseason to take charge of the expansion Seattle Sounders.

“Obviously, you’re trying to win all the games at home,” Warzycha said. “You have to take the positives from it, and we learned a little bit from the second half, especially.”

Schelotto’s penalty kick goal added a spark to what had been a listless game, with neither team able to establish an attacking rhythm for much of the first half.

The Crew nearly doubled its lead 7 minutes later when midfielder Eddie Gaven’s 20-yard shot hit off the crossbar. The ball bounced back into play and the Crew’s Emmanuel Ekpo forced an acrobatic save from Frei, who barely was able to deflect Ekpo’s shot over the crossbar.

Frei left the game at halftime with a lower back injury apparently suffered while making that save.

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