Toronto FC closed a perfect four-game home stand with a bang by beating up on the defensively inept New England Revolution 4-1 in front of just over 27,000 at BMO Field. Toronto over the course of the four games scored 12 goals, while shipping only two goals the other way.
The Gio show was back in full effect with Sebastian Giovinco scoring two dazzling goals in the first half and making good from the penalty spot in the second half to net his second hat-trick of the home stand. Giovinco scored seven of TFC's 12 goals on the home stand. Seba now sits with 15 goals for the season with 11 games to play. Should he remain fit and on form he should eclipse the 22 goal total that delivered him the MLS Golden Boot.
Teal Bunbury broke up what would have been a third consecutive clean sheet for goalkeeper Alex Bono in the 88th minute. Bono wasn't overworked with only three of the 11 Revs shots finding the target. New England offered very little moving forward all night long and the reds defenders were, for the most part, solid at keeping some of the Revs explosive offensive options under wraps. The trio of Kei Kamara, Diego Fagundez and Lee Nguyen only mustered four shots, none of them on target.
Toronto FC welcomed back captain Michael Bradley to the lineup on Saturday night. Bradley didn't appear to struggle at all with fitness, playing the full 90 minutes and looking crisp on and off the ball. Bradley also impressed in support of his backline, making a goal line clearance that kept the game at 1-0 at that time.
Jozy Altidore closed the scoring deep in second-half stoppage time. It was Altidore's second goal of the season and second in three games. Reds Coach Greg Vanney praised Altidore's play and the growth in chemistry between Jozy and Sebastian Giovinco. Vanney commented postgame that with Jozy back, not only is it opening the door for Giovinco to be Giovinco, but that more opportunities will arrive for secondary scorers to emerge. He expects that players like Osorio, Chapman and Delgado to start chipping in more goals as the season begins into the stretch drive.
The 4-1 win over New England ends a gruelling stretch of three games in six days for Toronto FC. With all of those games being played in oppressively hot and humid conditions, Vanney made a few changes to his starting eleven by inserting Mark Bloom, Nick Hagglund and Tosaint Ricketts along with the return of Michael Bradley. Justin Morrow, Tsubasa Endoh and Marky Delgado started on the bench. All three of whom have logged heavy minutes for Toronto FC over the course of the past few weeks.
Even with the lineup moves, the reds came out of the gate sluggish in the first twenty minutes with the Revolution asking some questions of TFC early on, but Giovinco's opener sparked some life into his teammates for the remainder of the first half.
Entering the second half two goals up, TFC went into energy conservation mode, not pushing the play with great enthusiasm at the Revs. The Revolution for their part offered little resistance in return.
New England manager Jay Heaps made clear postgame that he wasn't thrilled with the performance of referee Ted Unkel. Unkel has at times been hit and miss, but tonight wasn't one of those nights. He got the big calls right including his emphatic point to the penalty spot when Jonathan Osorio was hauled down in the Revolution box in the 76th minute that allowed Giovinco to seal his hat-trick. For his sour grapes with regard to the officiating, Heaps might expect a call from the league office and a possible fine.
Toronto FC now packs its bags and heads out on a three-game road trip to Houston, Philadelphia and Orlando. TFC returns to BMO Field on August 27th for the 401 derby against the Impact.
With tonight's win, Toronto FC moves to within one point of New York City FC with a game in hand for top spot in the Eastern Conference.