Houston Dynamo Canadian forward Tyler Pasher (19) goes over Real Salt Lake midfielder Damir Kreilach (8), during the second half of an MLS match on July 31, 2021, in Houston. A goal by Pasher, a former Toronto FC academy member, proved to be the difference Wednesday as Toronto lost 2-1 to the Houston Dynamo in MLS pre-season play. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Michael Wyke

Canada’s Tyler Pasher scores to lead Houston past Toronto FC in MLS pre-season play

Canada’s Tyler Pasher scores to lead Houston past Toronto FC in MLS pre-season play

AUSTIN, Texas — A goal by Canadian Tyler Pasher, a former Toronto FC academy member, proved to be the difference Wednesday as Toronto lost 2-1 to the Houston Dynamo in MLS pre-season play.

The game was played in windy conditions at St. David’s Performance Center, Austin FC’s training facility.

Toronto coach Bob Bradley fielded a strong squad to start the game with captain Michael Bradley, Alejandro Pozuelo, Jonathan Osorio, Chris Mavinga and newcomers Jesus Jimenez and Carlos Salcedo in the starting 11.

TFC had more of the ball in the first half but went into the break trailing 1-0 after an early headed goal by Paraguayan forward Sebastian Ferreira.

Pasher doubled the Houston lead in the 61st minute, poking the ball home from close range.

Toronto’s Ifunanyachi Achara cut the lead in the 74th minute, with a well-timed volley from just inside the Houston penalty box.

Pasher, a 27-year-old from Elmira, Ont., who has won two caps for Canada, is on his third MLS team following stints with Toronto and Sporting Kansas City. But his soccer journey started as a boy with Newcastle United in England with regular training stints there before he returned home to join the TFC academy.

Pasher made a first-team appearance in July 2012 in Toronto’s friendly against England’s Liverpool at Rogers Centre, and wore the captain’s armband in the second half.

Houston’s GM is former Canadian international goalkeeper Pat Onstad.

Toronto is 3-2-0 in exhibition play under Bradley, who has overhauled the roster after taking over in the wake of a dismal 6-18-10 season.

TFC edged the Chicago Fire 1-0 and Austin FC 2-1 in its first two exhibition games in Texas. Toronto split its first two pre-season games in California, losing 5-4 to the Los Angeles Galaxy and beating Los Angeles FC 2-1.

Toronto, which wraps up pre-season play Saturday against Sporting Kansas City, is finishing up camp in Austin ahead of its Feb. 26 season opener at FC Dallas.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2022

The Canadian Press

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