Back from a lengthy international break, Toronto FC returned to their winning ways with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois on Saturday night.
Chicago got the better of the early chances, with Michael de Leeuw and John Goossens causing some trouble, but Toronto responded well, nearly snatching the opener in the 13th minute when Tosaint Ricketts rose up to meet a right-sided Michael Bradley free-kick, only to send his header wide of the far-post.
A combination between Marky Delgado and Jozy Altidore almost led to a goal in the 28th minute, Delgado lifting a ball over the top for Altidore down the right, but his shot/cross whistled through the six-yard box, beyond the stretch of Jonathan Osorio.
Having wasted that chance, Toronto would break the deadlock five minutes later, when Justin Morrow found some space down the left on the counter, pulling back an inviting ball to Altidore at the top of the box, from where his right-footer found the bottom left-corner of the Chicago net, beating a helpless Sean Johnson.
It was Altidore's sixth goal of the season, all of which have come in the last eight matches, never mind his performances with the US national team over the break.
A 1-0 lead would see Toronto into half-time, but not until Matt Polster was slipped in behind the back-line, only to rush his right-footed stab mercifully wide.
Shortly after the restart, TFC would double their lead when Sean Johnson slipped as he attempted a throw, it was gobbled up by Altidore, who touched into the path of Jonathan Osorio. His right-footer found the wide open net for his first and easiest-ever goal of the season.
But Chicago would not bow their heads.
The Fire pulled one back in the 58th minute, shortly after David Accam was brought into the fray. Accam drove towards goal, where Goossens got the end of a loose ball, touching into the middle from a scramble.
From the goalmouth, de Leeuw nodded the ball goal-ward, just managing to get it past Will Johnson on the line, who got a touch on the effort, but could not keep it out.
Accam's injection of pace nearly led to an equalizer, when he was brought down in the area on a charging run, but the referee was not sufficiently enticed to award a penalty.
And the fleet-footed forward would find a glorious chance to equalize in the 80th minute, only to whiff from a dangerous position in the area.
The 2-1 win was TFC's first in Bridgeview, coming at the eleventh time of asking and moves them back into the top spot for the time being.
The match also featured the debut of Armando Cooper, who came on in the 63rd minute for Ricketts.
With the road victory, even without the services of Sebastian Giovinco, TFC have set themselves up neatly for the remaining six matches, all of which are at home except for a trip to Montreal on the penultimate round leading into the MLS Cup Playoffs.