It seems like every time Toronto FC travel to the Bronx to play New York City FC, we have to expect the unexpected. Wednesday night was no exception as all 22 players squeezed onto that wee pitch at Yankee Stadium and had a go at one another.
When the dust (and blood) settled, Toronto found themselves settling with a point on the road: good enough for a seat in fourth place, temporarily giving fans hope of a home playoff date ahead on Sunday’s match against the Colorado Rapids.
Here’s a look at some of the numbers that came out of Wednesday’s affair.
ON THE BOUNCE
Toronto FC now find themselves unbeaten in their last eight competitive matches, and as they get set to welcome the 18th-place Rapids to BMO Field, there’s reason to believe it could grow.
In fact, it’s just the third time in club history that the Reds managed to avoid defeat in eight consecutive matches or more. Two years ago, en route to a Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup glory, the Reds went 11-straight matches without a loss (all in league play) in a stretch that lasted two-and-a-half months.
The other occasion was also an 11-match unbeaten streak, spanning across their fourth Spring in the league, and included TFC hoisting their second consecutive Voyageurs Cup.
10 FOR #10
Alejandro Pozuelo may have sat on nine goals for 56 days, but Toronto’s #10 celebrated his 10th goal as a Red in the same way he celebrated his first, by beating NYCFC’s Sean Johnson from the spot.
With the first-half marker, Pozuelo became just the sixth Red to reach the double-digit plateau in an MLS regular season.
It was also the 50th regular-season goal for TFC — a mark they’ve now reached for the fifth consecutive campaign after only managing to crack 40 once in their first eight seasons.
A FAMILIAR SPOT
As mentioned earlier, this wasn’t the first time that Pozuelo faced Johnson from the spot, though his 10th goal entered the net at a much quicker rate than did his first: a Paneka in his MLS debut.
Pozuelo became the first player in TFC history to convert his first four penalty attempts for the club — an unblemished record that unfortunately lasted about an hour.
Johnson would get his revenge, stopping a second penalty attempt by Pozuelo in the 78th minute.
After Pozuelo’s first attempt, however, Johnson became the first keeper to allow four penalty goals to Toronto FC (Pozuelo’s two mentioned above in addition to Jozy Alitdore and Victor Vazquez markers in the summer of ‘17).
The goal also earned NYCFC the dubious distinction of becoming the first club to concede six penalty goals to the Reds, made even more remarkable by the fact that they didn’t exist in Toronto’s first eight seasons in the league.
Last night was only the third time in club history that they’ve had two chances from the spot in the same match, and only the second time the same player has taken both. All three occasions have yielded 50% results, though last night was the first time that Toronto didn’t rely on the second attempt to salvage a failed first.
The first of those three occasions was also at Yankee Stadium. I mentioned above that any trip to the Bronx can be a wild one, but let’s take a moment to remember TFC’s first visit.
The match finished 4-4 and included BOTH teams missing their first PK of the day. Even in this new VAR era, I’d have to think that the four PK attempts that day will stay atop the TFC record books for years to come.
On a down note, Johnson’s diving stop on Pozuelo’s second attempt will ensure that TFC have missed three or more PKs for the fourth consecutive season, a total not breached in their first nine campaigns.
OVER THE WALL
When Alexandru Mitrita opened the scoring last night with his laser FK from just outside the top of the box, he became the 19th opponent to score against Toronto via a direct FK.
Quite remarkably, no opponent has managed more than one, and it had been almost two years since the Reds conceded in such a manner.
NEW: If you have any number/stat-related questions, leave them in the comments and they may find their way into the next By The Numbers (or I may just reply and answer them...).