Piatti Scores Late to Extend Toronto FC's Unbeaten Streak to Nine
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Sunday, October 18, 2020
Pablo Piatti was the hero in the 89th minute when he headed Richie Laryea's cross into the back of the net, to give Toronto FC the 1-0 victory over Atlanta United and put them 6 points ahead of the Philadelphia Union for first place in the standings.
Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney mentioned before the match that both Chris Mavinga and Ayo Akinola were out of the lineup due to minor injuries resulting in him making some adjustments to his starting-XI; Quentin Westberg starting in-goa, Auro Jr., Laurent Ciman, Omar Gonzalez, and Tony Gallacher on the backline; Marky Delgado, Jonathan Osorio, Tsubasa Endoh, Pablo Piatti and Alejandro Pozuelo in the midfield; and Patrick Mullins as the striker.
It was a back-and-forth matchup for the most part with both teams looking to exploit any opening they could find for scoring opportunity. Credit to both clubs as they were able to remain composed defensively and were not too overzealous with their respective attack, which left little room for error as the slightest mistake could cost them 3 points.
Toronto captain, Michael Bradley, who had been out with an injury, subbed into the match in the 20th minute, but it was not on the best of circumstances as he came on to replace Osorio, who sustained an injury and need to be subbed off.
The second half continued to be a gritty affair and looked as though both teams would leave with one point and settle for a scoreless draw however, Laryea, who subbed into the match in the second half, became the difference maker and used his pace to free enough space for himself to cross the ball to Piatti, who connected with a nicely placed header to win it for Toronto.
Piatti, who had plenty of question marks when he was signed as Toronto’s third DP, has come up big for the club on numerous occasions and has been consistent with his performances. Although there was some concern with the 31-year old’s injury history, he has continued to log a lot of minutes and has provided a spark to the team’s offense.
There was some disappointment coming into today’s match. Yesterday, it was revealed that the Supporters' Shield, which is awarded to the club that finishes with the most points during the regular season, will not be awarded this season. The Supporters' Shield Foundation made the announcement via Twitter, stating that it was a difficult decision to make and that they hope to award the Shield in 2021:
“This is not an easy decision to make. With the inability for supporters to be in attendance and fill their stadiums with passion, however, we feel as though the current climate goes against the spirit of the Shield. The Supporters’ Shield Foundation stands with our players and our supporters in knowing that this year has been one of many challenges, and we commend the support and effort given to making the best of the 2020 season as it has been.”
During his post-match media availability, Vanney gave his thoughts on the Supporters’ Shield Foundation’s decision and why it was disappointing especially with the new norm that MLS clubs have had to adapt to:
“If you’re a traditional soccer person, then that’s a trophy you always want to win because it shows that the best team that has endured over any circumstances, pick your circumstances this year. It’s COVID, it’s injuries, it’s incredibly difficult schedules because these games are coming back to back, managing injuries, all these kinds of things that these guys are and the players are having to endure.”
Toronto are back in action next Saturday, when they take on the Philadelphia Union, where they will attempt to increase their lead in the MLS standings.
Photo Credit: Toronto FC