Seattle Hand Toronto First Loss of the Season
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Seattle--- Toronto FC were handed their first defeat of the 2019 MLS season this afternoon, after losing 3-2 to the Seattle Sounders in an entertaining game at CenturyLink Field. Jozy Altidore scored a brace but that wasn't enough to defeat their Western Conference rivals.
Coach Greg Vanney made some changes to both his lineup and formation for Toronto’s game; he went with a 3-5-2 formation with Quentin Westberg making his first start of the season in-goal, Laurent Ciman, Chris Mavinga, and Eriq Zavaleta in the back-line, Justin Morrow, Nick DeLeon, Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado, and Jonathan Osorio in midfield, and Alejandro Pozuelo and Jozy Altidore as the strikers up-top.
Vanney’s adjustments seemed to have worked as Toronto FC got on the score sheet in the eleventh minute, when Altidore scored a header off an incredible cross from Pozuelo. Toronto has been successful this season in opening space on the wings and getting the ball to Altidore in the box.
The chemistry between Pozuelo and Altidore is getting better with each game and they’ve done an excellent job creating scoring chances for one another in the short amount of time they’ve been teammates. With the goal, Altidore extends his goal-scoring streak to four games and shows why he is one of Toronto’s most important players.
After the goal, Toronto weren’t playing as sharp defensively, which allowed the Sounders to capitalize on some miscommunication in Toronto’s defense and tie the game in the 24th-minute, after Will Bruin scored a diving header following great lob pass from Brad Smith.
Toronto were close to getting the lead back when Morrow used his pace to free up space, but Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei was able to make the save and keep the game tied.
Vanney made some adjustments at half-time and began the second-half by substituting Zavaleta for Jay Chapman. With the substitution, Chapman would go into midfield and DeLeon would drop back into defence.
Bruin would add another goal in the 66th minute after Seattle’s excellent ball movement allowed him to get a touch on the ball and put his team up 2-1. The Sounders weren’t done there as they were able to add a third goal two-minutes later following a through ball to Christian Roldan, who struck a powerful shot past Westberg, making it 3-1 for the home side.
Toronto would immediately get one back when Altidore scored his second goal of the game in the 70th minute, once again from a Pozuelo pass. This was a positive sign for Toronto because they were able to get right back into the game and didn’t get discouraged or give up after conceding back-to-back goals.
Seattle did a great job defending Altidore throughout the game; they were aggressive and although he was able to score twice, they managed to close the distance when he had possession.
Ayo Akinola came on in the 84th minute to provide an extra spark off the bench for Toronto, but the team couldn’t tie the game and were defeated for the first time this season.
Even though Toronto lost, they proved that their team is more than capable of competing with one of the best teams in MLS, which is a positive sign going forward because there had been many question marks as to how good this team would be at the start of the season.
TOR Altidore 11’, 70’
SEA Bruin 24’, 66’
SEA Roldan 68’
Photo and Video Credit: Toronto FC