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Silence is Golden: Toronto FC take down the Portland Timbers

A protesting crowd made BMO Field as quiet as it has been in years, but the team was still able to overcome the Portland Timbers.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

For once at BMO Field it was the home team that inspired the crowd, and not vice versa. As the stadium's south end stood silent for the first 23 minutes of the match the team on the field had one of the best starts to a game they have ever had.

It was in the first 20 minutes that the tone was set for Toronto's 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers. In fact it took only nine minutes for Sebastian Giovinco to find the back of the net with a brilliant long range effort.

It was as complete an effort as this team has seen in some time. But standards are also higher than they have ever been, and Toronto know that they still have plenty to improve on.

"When you talk about just coming away with three points that part was excellent," said Michael Bradley after the match. "I think we are just kind of scratching the surface of what we can be and our sharpness and really finishing teams off."

If there was one criticism of this match from a Toronto FC standpoint, it was that they let the Timbers hang around for too long. They had plenty of chances, but couldn't put that second goal into the back of the net.

The majority of the chances came from Giovinco, who seems to be trying to singlehandedly compensate for the absence of Jozy Altidore. When asked after the game to describe his goal, he did so in one word, "beautiful".

"One of our strategies on the day was to try to find [Giovinco] pulling out to the outside where he could get isolated and go one on one with their centrebacks," explained Greg Vanney. "He stayed active we were able to find him and he definitely made it difficult on their defenders."

Giovinco wasn't without help, however, as Luke Moore had a very solid performance both holding up play and creating chances offensively. It looks like Jordan Hamilton is going to have to wait a little longer before he is freed, although TFC II gave him a run out later in the night.

Bradley was also commanding in his attacking form, as he continues a streak that has seen him play some of his best soccer with the club. It wasn't as dominant as last game, but moving Bradley up the field appears to be one of the smartest things Vanney has done all season.

"He's a very important player and this adjustment is making my life easier," said Giovinco of Bradley's new role. "There are more chances to score."

In the net Chris Konopka once again stood tall, earning his second clean sheet of the season. It took Joe Bendik 20 games after his TFC debut to earn his second clear sheet, it has taken Konopka four. His coach is taking notice.

"I think it's a fantastic difficult decision to have," Vanney said of what is now turning into a goaltending controversy. "We have two guys who are really pushing each other, and they have a good relationship. The first guy congratulating Chris when he came off the field was Joe."

Vanney is hoping that they will push each other further going forward. He says that the one who gives the team the best chance to win will ultimately get the minutes on the field, and right now that looks like Konopka.

On a day that was billed by fans as a funeral for BMO Field, there ending up being a lot to be happy about. The team's recent run of play indicates that they are heading in the right direction. If this continues BMO won't stand in silence again like this for a very long time.