Tomas Karageorgos | Report
Toronto FC defeated Eastern Conference opponents Chicago Fire 3-0 on Saturday night, narrowing the gap between them and the lower playoff spots.
After playing the Chicago Fire a week before in Chicago and defeating them 2-1, Toronto FC hosted and defeated them again in a matter of seven days; this time with a scoreline of 3-0. Before going into this match, TFC were 4 points back of Chicago in the Eastern Conference standings, the win brought them just one point behind them, and just six points out of the last playoff spot.
TFC had played the second leg of the Canadian Championship semi-final against the Ottawa Fury on Wednesday night and rested most of the important names, and still won 3-0 on the night, 4-0 on aggregate. Summer is always a busy time for MLS, with most teams sometimes playing two games in a week. With The Reds trying to make a push up the standings, this busy schedule is a good opportunity for them to take advantage of.
TFC made multiple changes, the most notable being Victor Vazquez coming into the lineup. A couple familiar faces were in the Chicago lineup in the form of Raheem Edwards and Nicolas Hasler. TFC had traded Hasler to the Fire a week earlier and got striker Jon Bakero in return. The first half ended scoreless after a strong defensive showing from both sides. Manager Grey Vanney made a substitution at the start of the second half, bringing in midfielder Marky Delgado to replace defender Ashtone Morgan, as TFC switched to a back four.
Toronto opened the scoring in the 52nd minute with a scrappy goal from Jozy Altidore. From then on, TFC took control of the match, creating more chances as the second half progressed. Midfielder Jonathan Osorio continued his run of form, scoring yet another goal in the 72nd minute, with Sebastian Giovinco playing it across the face of goal after Victor Vazquez sent a ball over the top. Just a minute later, Giovinco was looking to get on the scoresheet, as his shot from just outside the 18-yard box hit the post. With just a few minutes remaining in the match, defender Gregory van der Wiel played a low cross into Giovinco as his shot hit the underside of the crossbar and came back out. Giovinco’s goal finally came in the 89th minute as his shot deflected off a Chicago defender and over the goalkeeper to make it 3-0 and seal the 3 points for TFC.
Toronto FC’s next two matches are up against first and second place Eastern Conference teams in Atlanta United and New York City FC respectively. If The Reds want to keep their playoff hopes alive, those two games are must-wins.
Featured image by SBNation.