Toronto FC Back in the Win Column After Entertaining Win over Atlanta
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Toronto--- Toronto FC put an end to their eight-game winless streak after defeating reigning MLS Champions, Atlanta United, 3-2 in a highly entertaining game.
Coming into this game, there were plenty of concerns from fans of Toronto FC because the team would now be facing a difficult stretch of games that could easily result in them being on the outside looking in as it pertains to their playoff hopes in the MLS Eastern Conference standings.
Prior to kickoff, Toronto FC President Bill Manning spoke about coach Greg Vanney and noted that the front office expects results and that they fully expect to be a playoff team. Although the team has struggled as of late, Manning believes that Vanney deserves a chance because he was the coach who delivered an MLS Cup, so it’d only be right that he be given the opportunity to steer Toronto’s fortunes in the right direction.
Vanney made some additions to his starting-XI and went with a 4-4-2 formation with Quentin Westberg starting in goal, Richie Laryea, Laurent Ciman, Eriq Zavaleta, and Justin Morrow as the back-four, Liam Fraser, Marky Delgado, Tsubasah Endoh, who was making his first start of the season, and Nick DeLeon in midfield, and the debuting Jacob Shaffelburg and Alejandro Pozuelo in the attack.
It didn’t take long for Toronto to get on the scoresheet as the team were aggressive right from the opening whistle and managed to execute a play that concluded with a cross pass to Endoh, who scored his first of the season in under one-minute, making it fastest goal in franchise history.
Toronto’s lead wouldn’t last too long as Atlanta would receive a penalty kick after VAR determined that there was a handball committed by Alejandro Pozuelo in Toronto’s box. Pity Martinez stepped up and was successful from the penalty spot to tie the game 1-1.
Atlanta would take the lead five minutes later in the 22nd minute, when Julian Gressel struck the ball past Westberg after exploiting an opening he found in Toronto’s defense.
Toronto would get that goal back in the 27th minute when Pozuelo scored a header past Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzman following a cross from midfielder Liam Fraser. This was a positive moment for Toronto FC because they weren’t discouraged by Atlanta’s two quick goals and continued to push the pace.
The most entertaining moments would be saved for stoppage time at the end of the 90-minutes. First, Toronto FC were awarded a penalty-kick when Richie Laryea was brought down in the box, which saw Pozuelo step up and successfully score his second of the game to put Toronto up 3-2 to a loud ovation from the fans in attendance at BMO Field.
In the 97th minute of what was supposed to be only two minutes of stoppage time, Atlanta United were awarded another penalty kick after the referee went to VAR for the second time. VAR determined that Atlanta should be awarded a penalty, which gave Pity Martinez the opportunity to tie the game and leave Toronto with one-point.
Martinez stepped up to the penalty spot however, this time he was unsuccessful as he struck the ball with too much power resulting in it going over the net. The referee then blew the whistle to end the game and Toronto FC’s winless streak.
Toronto FC are back in MLS action this Saturday, when they take on DC United.
Photo Credit: Toronto FC (@TorontoFC)