Alejandro Pozuelo scored a brace on the day, with Tsubasa Endoh providing the opener. However, it was Canadian debutant Jacob Shaffelburg who will be hearing most of the plaudits for his outstanding performance down the wings.
Toronto FC broke a record for fastest goal in club history when Endoh scored less than a minute into the match. It was the Japanese midfielder’s first goal since his rookie season in 2016 in what was his first appearance for the senior team this year.
The goal came off of some great combination play down the left for Toronto. There 19-year-old winger Shaffelburg, making his first MLS start, played a cross that took a deflection into Endoh’s path.
Toronto, and Shaffleburg, continued to threaten for most of the early part of the match. However, Atlanta struck next after VAR decided that Pozuelo had handled in the penalty area. Pity Martinez converted.
Atlanta looked to be pulling away when they added another goal just five minutes later. This time it was a signature defensive calamity from TFC, with the ball bouncing off both Richie Laryea and Eriq Zavaleta before Julian Gressel tapped it home.
It took Toronto just five minutes of their own to muster a reply, however. Once again, Shaffelburg was front and centre. He received a classy cross-field ball from Liam Fraser and picked out Pozuelo with an excellent cross that the Spaniard headed home.
The second half was full of chances for both teams, but neither side could convert. It looked like it would end in a draw when Laryea missed a late chance.
However, what followed was one of the most dramatic finishes BMO Field has ever seen. With the clock running out Laryea was tripped inside the box, and Toronto FC were given a penalty. Pozuelo stepped up and calmly converted his second of the match to give TFC a 3-2 lead.
Play then went down the other end where the game appeared to be over with the final whistle being blown. However, VAR once again came into play as the ball on a desperate late cross was deemed to have struck Nick DeLeon’s arm.
Martinez stepped up to hit the penalty, but put it over the bar. Many fans had already headed for the exits, none the wiser in terms of how close Toronto FC came to blowing what could be a massive win in terms of momentum.
Shots: ATL 18, TFC 15
Shots on target: ATL 5, TFC 5
Possession: TFC 52.1% ATL 47.9%
Fouls: 12 TFC , 7 ATL
Duels won: 40 TFC, 50 ATL
Man of the Match
Who was Toronto FC’s Man of the Match tonight?
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