TORONTO - With the kind of week John Carver is having, you'd assume the Toronto FC head coach would like to be around for his team's first home win of the season.
But Carver, who was recently hit with a US$750 fine by MLS on top of learning he would be without one of his best players because of injury, was not on the sidelines Wednesday night as midfielder Amado Guevara scored in the 36th minute to give Toronto a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA.
Assistant coach Chris Cummins was the man on the pitchline instead, as Toronto snapped its four-game winless streak in front of 19,915 at BMO Field.
"I think it's because it was on television and I'm better looking," joked Cummins about Carver's vanishing act. "John obviously has his reasons and I don't want to talk about it."
Carver's wallet took a hit Tuesday after the league fined him for calling referee Tim Weyland's performance "a disgrace" during a weekend loss in Dallas. The fine came just after learning star midfielder Dwayne De Rosario could be out for several weeks with a hamstring injury.
However Cummins filled in admirably as Toronto collected a much-needed victory after a dispiriting winless stretch and moved to 2-2-2 and a second-place tie with the New England Revolution in the East.
"It's a different experience for me, but it's great being down there," said Cummins. "I've nearly lost my voice. I love being down there. I work with the lads week-in, week-out and they've done us proud tonight."
After a failed Chivas clearance, striker Danny Dichio headed a centring ball to Guevara. The speedy Honduran split two defenders and lashed in his third of the season from about six yards out past Chivas 'keeper Zach Thornton.
"We tried to find a way to get Amado on the ball and we just went out and attacked it," said midfielder Carl Robinson. "It's great for the fans, great for those out there, the atmosphere was fantastic again tonight. But it's still the early stages, we still need to work hard. But it's a stepping stone for us."
With Toronto mindful of its recent habit of squandering leads late in the game, the team played conservatively in the second half with controlled defence. Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei was rarely tested by Chivas, which was outshot 6-3 -- with just one shot on target.
Cummins said the final 10 minutes were tough to get through knowing his club conceded late goals in both of its last two losses.
"It felt like 30 minutes for me," said Cummins. "But I thought they handled it very well.
"I think Stefan had the night off tonight, so we might have to take some money out of his wages. He's not had a lot to do, and that's a credit to the people in front of him. From the top to the back four. It's always nervy, especially after last week. We told the lads to go enjoy the game, express yourselves but not to take chances when they don't have to."
Chivas USA (4-1-1) suffered its first loss of the young MLS season after climbing atop the Western Standings with a previously unblemished record.
The California-based club threatened in the 75th minute when substitute Chukwudi Chijindu came blazing in from the left side but defender Adrian Serioux was there to dispossess the midfielder.
Toronto continued to press offensively, however, as Dichio almost padded Toronto's lead in the 60th with a low header in the penalty area, but Thorton kept his side in the game with a phenomenal save.
Toronto looked hungry in the first half, as Guevara raced up the centre before putting a touch pass right on the foot of striker Chad Barret, who sent the ball wide of the right goalpost in the 28th.
"I think I had a little bit off confidence going out there tonight," said Barrett, who scored his first FC goal in Sunday's loss. "I felt really good, everybody on the team really stepped up and we did really well. I don't think we gave them any time and any room to get their game going. We put pressure on them in the front and they had to play long balls."
At the 15-minute mark, with Dichio in all alone, the striker was pulled down with scything tackle in the penalty box. Dichio looked to the referee to no avail as the crowd erupted. Dichio later received a yellow card in the 38th for a reckless tackle.
With Rosario's absence, former Independiente forward Pablo Vitti was inserted into the starting lineup to provide offensive support.
Vitti made his presence felt in 23rd minute, blasting a shot from the right side but Thornton was up the task.
The Argentine also threatened within the first minute of play, splitting two defenders with a drive but Thornton thwarted his attempt.
Chivas returns home for match against FC Dallas on Saturday, while Toronto plays its second game of a three-game homestand on Sunday against Kansas City.
Notes: Toronto FC was missing forward O'Brian White (knee). ...Chivas USA's injury list was considerably longer with F Justin Braun (right knee sprain), D Bobby Burling (sports hernia), F Maykel Galindo (sports hernia), D Ante Jazic (concussion), GK Dan Kennedy (knee sprain), D Ante Razov (ankle surgery), D Claudio Suarez (calf strain), D Lawson Vaughn (ankle surgery) and MF Sasha Victorine (knee surgery) all out of the lineup. ...Toronto and Chivas meet once more in the regular season -- Aug. 22 in Carson, Calif. ...Chivas holds a 4-1-0 record all-time against Toronto FC.