Pozuelo Scores Late Penalty to give Toronto 1-0 Victory Over NYCFC
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Alejandro Pozuelo was the hero for Toronto FC as he scored a late penalty in the 90th minute to give his team the 1-0 victory over New York City FC and at the same time, redeeming himself for costing his team a few weeks ago. Just when it looked like Toronto and NYCFC were headed towards a scoreless draw, Toronto were awarded a penalty kick as a result of a handball in the NYCFC box.
Toronto head coach Greg Vanney went with a 4-4-2 formation: Alex Bono starting in-goal in place of Quentin Westberg; Richie Laryea, Omar Gonzalez, Chris Mavinga, and the debuting Tony Gallacher on the backline; Pablo Piatti, Jonathan Osorio, Nick DeLeon, Alejandro Pozuelo, and Jonathan Osorio, who served as captain in today’s match, in the midfield; and Ayo Akinola and Jozy Altidore as the strikers up-top.
This was a different starting-XI than what Toronto fans have been accustomed to seeing as Vanney had both Altidore and Akinola start as opposed to having one of them come off the bench later in the match to provide a spark off the bench.
When reflecting on that match, Vanney describe the win as being valuable for the team:
“Tonight is just a character win that I think the guys feel more proud of this win than sometimes the other wins we play well. So, I’m really really proud of just the effort and again, just a couple adjustments which slowed them down on the attack there in the second half a little bit more, which gave us a little bit of a chance to recover from a first half that was quite wide-open.”
During his media availability yesterday, Vanney mentioned that he and his staff had talked about starting both Altidore and Akinola so they could play together and hopefully build more chemistry in the attack.
Akinola, 20, has taken full advantage of every opportunity this season since the MLS is Back Tournament, where he scored 5 goals. Akinola had scored in Toronto’s draw with D.C. United this past weekend, so it is understandable why Vanney would want to include the young striker in the starting-XI while he has the momentum of recent performances.
Speaking of opportunities, Bono made the most of his start tonight by making huge saves in a match that could have really got out of hand if not for his performance in goal. Bono’s performance provides Vanney with options as he can rely on both goalkeepers to step in when needed and ensure that
Toronto are back in action on Sunday night, when they take on the Columbus Crew for a chance to get closer to top spot in the MLS Eastern Conference.
Photo Credit: Toronto FC