Three weeks ago, when Toronto FC Manager Mo Johnston announced he had signed Honduran international and one time Major League Soccer MVP Amado Guevara, media types around the city shook their heads, cited the player’s tumultuous past in the MLS and questioned Johnston’s managerial abilities.
Saturday, after Guevara had netted two goals against the first placed Kansas City Wizards - including a world-class free kick from 25-yards out — to lead the Toronto FC to a 2-0 win and their first ever three-game win streak, the heads were all nodding their approval.
The reality is despite Guevara’s past baggage (walking out on teams and openly fighting with coaches and referees) he has the ability, on any given week, to put a team on his back, leading them to victory.
"I'm still waiting to see that animal in him," TFC coach John Carver said. "If he's happy, I'm happy. The team's happy. We're winning."
With the game tied 0-0 at halftime and strong sense of déjà vu starting to settle over a TFC squad, who had so much trouble finding the back of the net last season, Guevara opened the scoring 10 minutes into the second half – a play that started with defender Marvel Wynne.
"At halftime we were happy with our play but disappointed we hadn't scored," Wynne said. "We were thinking: 'Oh, come on, This can't be one of those days where it's just not going in for us, so there was a sigh of relief when the first one went in"
Wynne, fast becoming an MLS force in his own right, made a breathtaking run up the right side, beating three defenders, and found his way into the Kansas City 18-yard box before being dispossessed.
After a botched clearing attempt by two Kansas City defenders, Guevara found himself all alone on the six-yard box and made no mistake calmly placing the ball past the Kansas City ‘keeper Kevin Hartman. Hartman and Kansas City captain Jim Conrad immediately appealed for an offside call to the assistant referee.
Guevara, who did appear to be in an offside position when he received the ball, only smiled and saluted the fans as he made his way back to half. Conrad earned a yellow card for his trouble.
Guevara sealed the victory for TFC in 77th minute as his free kick floated over the Kansas City wall and curled into the top right corner.
“Laurent (Robert) and I usually look at the ball, and the position and who has the better shot at the net, last week it was Laurent, and this week he looked at me and told me I had a better shot. I took it and thankfully it went to the right place," Guevara said, speaking through his translator.
After the game, Carver acknowledged the goals by Guevara but made sure to draw attention to a sprawling Greg Sutton save in the 60th minute, only moments after Guevara’s first goal, maintaining the 1-0 lead.
"Again, a pleasing result and especially, and I might sound a little bit negative here - but especially the fact that we kept another clean sheet right at the death thanks to Greg Sutton, because that was a match-winning save for us,” Carver said.
Sutton was humble in assessment of his own play.
"You know my job is try and keep these games in our pockets, and our guys did a great job today defensively again. I think we've grown leaps and bounds from the first couple of games, and we've done a good thing."
With the win Toronto now sits in third place and three points out of first. They will take on the New York Red Bulls Thursday for the third game in their five-game stretch at home.