Toronto FC Rally to Draw at Home Despite VAR Decisions
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Friday, June 7, 2019
Toronto— Toronto FC substitute Jordan Hamilton scored a huge goal off a counterattack in stoppage time to tie the game 2-2 after Sporting KC had gained the lead following two VAR decisions that led to two penalty kick goals.
Toronto coach Greg Vanney experimented with a different lineup for tonight’s game against Sporting KC. With the Gold Cup coming up, Vanney didn’t have the services of Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, and Jozy Altidore and went with a 5-3-1-1 formation; Quentin Westberg started in-goal, Laurent Ciman, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta, Justin Morrow, and Richie Laryea defending on the back-line, Marky Delgado, Liam Fraser, and Nick DeLeon in the midfield, Alejandro Pozuelo in a position where he was both attacking-midfield and second forward, and Terrance Boyd as the lone striker.
Alejandro Pozuelo put his dribbling ability on full display early. He was able to maneuver himself around Sporting KC’s defenders and create a scoring opportunity for his teammates but, Terrance Boyd couldn’t get a touch on time.
Pozuelo and Boyd would link up with the same play ten minutes later and this time Boyd was able to head the ball, but it was stopped by Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia.
Boyd getting involved early is a positive sign for Toronto FC because the team have been lacking depth in the attack, which was evident when Jozy Altidore went down with an injury. Another positive sign for the team is that help will be on the way on the defensive end as Omar Gonzalez will be joining the club on July 9th.
In the 23rd minute, Sporting KC were awarded a penalty kick after the official used VAR to review a free-kick and found that the foul occurred inside Toronto’s box. The play didn't look like it was a foul, so fans were not very pleased when the replay was shown on the big screen and the official still ruled it a penalty kick.
Filipe Gutierrez stepped up to the penalty spot and was successful to put Sporting KC up 1-0 to loud boos from the TFC faithful who were not too pleased with the official’s decision to award the penalty. In addition, Toronto would be in an interesting position because the team had to climb back and tie the game.
Toronto goalkeeper Quentin Westberg came up big and redeemed himself in the 30th minute, when he made a great save to keep the team within one goal. Sporting KC’s goalkeeper Tim Melia would then one up Westberg in the 32nd minute when he dived to make a spectacular save on Eriq Zavaleta, who had received the ball from a Pozuelo free kick.
Toronto began to push the pace offensively and as a result, had a goal scoring opportunity when Justin Morrow used his speed to dribble the ball off the wing and into Sporting KC’s box but struck the ball wide of the net.
Toronto FC’s resilience offensively would pay off as they’d eventually tie the game in the 43rd minute following great ball movement from the midfield to Justin Morrow, who would then perfectly place a cross pass to Nick DeLeon to tap in to the back of the net, tying the game 1-1.
Toronto defender Richie Laryea did an excellent job in all aspects of the game tonight; he was aggressive defensively, creative offensively, and was drawing fouls on multiple occasions due to the great performance he was having. Although some of his challenges resulted in fouls and even a yellow card, Laryea continued to maintain his composure and essentially made a case for himself that he should be starting games more frequently.
Toronto had a great sequence of scoring opportunities in the 66th minute, which ended with Marky Delgado striking the ball wide of the net. This offensive sequence was a great opportunity for Toronto to gain the lead after controlling the pace of the game up until that point.
Sporting KC were awarded another penalty kick in the 72nd minute after the official used VAR yet again to determine that there was a foul in Toronto’s box. Felipe Gutierrez stepped up to the spot again and scored his second goal of the game from the penalty spot to put his team up 2-1.
The 24,708 in attendance voiced their displeasure once again by breaking out a “ref, you suck” chant in unison.
Fortunately for Toronto, they were able to tie the game in stoppage time, when Jordan Hamilton recieved a cross pass from Ryan Telfer, who had recently been recalled from his loan wtih York 9 FC in the Canadian Premier League, and tapped it into the net. Toronto were the better team throughout so it was great to see that their efforts didn't go to waste.
SKC Gutierrez 23’ (PK)
TOR DeLeon 43’
SKC Gutierrez 73’ (PK)
TOR Hamilton 90+’
Photo and Video Credit: Toronto FC