Toronto FC Clinch Playoff Spot with 1-1 Draw to LAFC
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Sunday, September 22, 2019
LAFC striker Carlos Vela played spoiler on Saturday night after as his penalty late into stoppage time was enough to tie the game 1-1 and result in Toronto only getting one point in California as opposed to the full three points.
Toronto coach Greg Vanney went to 4-2-3-1 formation with Quentin Westberg getting the start in-goal, Auro Jr., Chris Mavinga, Omar Gonzalez, and Richie Laryea on the backline, Marky Delgado, Alejandro Pozuelo, Tsubasa Endoh, and Michael Bradley in the midfield, and Jozy Altidore as the lone striker up top.
Toronto did an excellent job early on in using the midfielders on the wing to create scoring opportunities for themselves and were composed defensively against a strong offensive LAFC side, who came into this game with a goal differential of +44.
All eyes were on Mark-Anthony Kaye, who was playing against his hometown team, where spent two years developing through their academy following a successful U-Sports career playing for Carmine Isacco on the York U Lions. The 24-year old has come into his own in LAFC’s midfield and has been one of the players who’s played a pivotal role in the team’s success this season.
Toronto FC got on the scoresheet in the 18th minute, when Tsubasa Endoh received a pass from Jozy Altidore, and used the time and space available to him to strike a perfectly placed shot with his left foot that went in the opposite end of the net, giving his team up 1-0.
Toronto remained defensively sound in the second half, even when the possession started to shift in LAFC’s favour. Bob Bradley’s side were getting opportunities; Mark-Anthony Kaye sent a great lob pass for Latif Blessing, but he was unable to connect, which led to Toronto sticking to their game plan and not overreacting to their opponent getting closer to a goal.
Unfortunately for Toronto, LAFC would tie the game in stoppage time after VAR determined that defender Chris Mavinga committed a foul in the box, resulting in a penalty being awarded to LA.
Carlos Vela stepped up to the penalty spot for his team and successfully struck the ball past Quentin Westberg for his league-leading 29th goal of the season and 29th goal in 28 games. The referee would blow the whistle to end the game shortly after, leaving Toronto having to settle with one point in a game they could’ve won had it not been for the one crucial error in stoppage time.
There would be good news for Toronto FC and their fanbase as the Montreal Impact were defeated by LA Galaxy, which means Toronto have clinched their first playoff birth since 2017, which saw them capture their first MLS Cup.
Photo Credit: BarnBurner and Toronto FC (@TorontoFC)