For the second week in a row Toronto FC walked off their home pitch as victors, defeating the visiting San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 in front of 17,711 spectators at BMO Field. Sebastian Giovinco put on another spectacular performance as he assisted two of TFC's three goals and twice put the ball off the woodwork, in a match where the visitors had no answers for Toronto's most dynamic attacker. Giovinco proved that so long as he is on the pitch any one of his teammates can find the back of the net, as all three scorers on the evening converted their first goal of the season.
Toronto FC dominated the first half as their diamond midfield again proved effective in both linking up with attackers (Giovinco in particular) and preventing the San Jose midfield from establishing scoring opportunities. TFC's first goal was scored by none other than Justin Morrow, whose diving header was good for his third MLS goal in six seasons and first as a Red. The combination of Asthone Morgan dropping the ball back for Jonathan Osorio, who then placed a perfect pass forward for Giovinco to send in the short cross, was matched only in beauty by Justin Morrow's header with the fullback showing absolute determination to beat out his man and find the back of the net.
In typical TFC fashion the lead was short-lived, as San Jose stormed back down the pitch and placed a shot right onto the out-stretched arm of Morgan, resulting in a penalty. TFC killer Chris Wondolowski camly placed the spot kick into the bottom left corner, despite TFC keeper Chris Konopka guessing correctly and nearly getting a glove to it.
Toronto FC managed to go back up before the end of the half, when Warren Creavalle surprisingly showed the thousands in attendance that he can contribute on the pitch, placing a perfect low drive from the edge of the box by San Jose keeper David Bingham to again give Toronto the lead. That would be one of the few bright moments of the match for Creavalle, whose vision was lacking and whose passes were often misguided throughout his time on the field. Creavalle would be TFC's first sub, being replaced by Jackson in the 67th minute.
While San Jose came out with more aggression and attacking intent in the second half dominating possession for the first twenty minutes, TFC's defenders stood tall. Eriq Zavaleta and Damien Perquis again had a solid outing as the pair managed to make several timely clearances and keep danger away from the center of the box. Luke Moore added the insurance marker for TFC on a play jump-started by a long ball (one of many) from Bradley to Giovinco. Moore's deft touch on Giovinco's centering pass salvaged an overall decent night for the striker, who wasn't particularly flashy or noticeable but still managed to register a goal and an assist and effectively pair up with TFC's star attackers.
Cheyrou, Bradley, and Osorio played well together throughout the match even with the latter missing an absolute sitter when Giovinco found him alone against San Jose keeper David Bingham. Osorio was replaced in the 84th minute by Nick Hagglund. Young Canadian and TFC Academy product Jay Champan saw his first minutes for TFC's first team Saturday evening, coming on for Luke Moore in the last 10 minutes. While Chapman didn't have time to really assert himself and make a mark in the match, his energy and positional awareness quickly became evident, and the young midfielder did not appear out of sorts among the seasoned vets.
The match against San Jose clearly demonstrated a few reassuring facts for TFC and their supporters: 1) The absence of Jozy Altidore doesn't necessarily mean the absence of goals, 2) Giovinco is absolutely one of the top 5 performers in the league (and arguably in the discussion for single best player), 3) Greg Vanney has found a way to make Michael Bradley perform as is expected of a DP.
The match will do wonders for the entire team's confidence, as TFC head to Washington next weekend to take on Eastern Conference leaders DC United Saturday evening. Toronto FC currently sit 4th in the East.
TFC- Morrow (Giovinco, Osorio) 22'
SJ- Wondolowsk 24' (PK)
TFC- Creavalle (Moore) 33'
TFC- Moore (Giovinco) 71'
SJ- Nyassi (Caution) 55'
Toronto FC: 5-5-1 (16 pts)
San Jose: 5-5-3 (18 pts)
Toronto FC- Konopka, Morgan, Zavaleta, Perquis, Morrow, Cheyrou, Creavalle (Jackson 66'), Osorio (Hagglund 84'), Bradley, Giovinco, Moore (Chapman 84')
Unused Subs: Bendik, Hamilton, Manella, Findley
San Jose- Bingham, Stewart, Goodson (Renato 45'), Bernardez, Wynne, Koval (Sherrod 75'), Stephenson, Wondolowski, Salinas, Nyassi (Cato 58'), Jahn
Unused Subs: Meredith, Francis, Pierazzi, Garcia