When Toronto FC hosted the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, a win was definitely on the minds of the Eastern Conference-climbing Reds. The Rapids had only beaten TFC once in their first 10 trips to BMO Field and Toronto was riding an 8-match unbeaten streak.
If you’d checked the scoreline after the first 15 minutes, you’d have seen a 2-0 Toronto lead and assumed the Reds had the affair in hand.
But TFC needed a clutch penalty stop by Quentin Westberg and a late match-deciding marker from Jonathan Osorio in order to see a 3-2 lead turn into three points at the final whistle.
Now Toronto head to Montreal for the first leg of their Voyageurs Cup Final, looking to secure their fourth straight Canadian Championship.
Here’s are some numbers to consider:
WEST IS BEST
When Westberg blocked Kei Kamara’s right corner-bound penalty attempt in the 38th minute, it marked just the second time that TFC have stopped three PK attempts in the same MLS season.
Clint Irwin (more on him later) and Alex Bono combined for three stops in the 2017 MLS regular season — which means Westberg is the first Toronto keeper to turn the trick himself.
In fact, Westberg became just the second TFC keeper to stop three PKs over his Toronto tenure, joining teammate Bono atop the list — a feat he achieved at record speed (nine attempts vs. 18).
Westberg’s save on Kamara was the second time that referee Alex Chilowicz had pointed to the penalty spot on Sunday. On the first occasion, Alejandro Pozuelo beat the aforementioned (and now visiting) Clint Irwin.
It marked the fifth consecutive season that Toronto has scored five or more from the the spot, a feat they had not reached through their first eight campaigns.
SHUFFLE THE DECK
Pozuelo now sports a five-for-six record from the spot for Toronto (matching Victor Vazquez), and has shuffled the deck with his variety. Pozuelo scored his 11th goal on the year in the same manner with which he scored his first: a Paneka right down main street from the spot.
Pozuelo has now gone left / middle / right two times each with the club. By comparison, Sebastian Giovinco went left his first 10 attempts with the club, and 13 of his first 14 (including a pair of left posts vs. Maxime Crepeau after the first attempt was retaken).
Pozuelo’s choice of variety is important as he appears to be the club’s designated taker. This was the first time in TFC history that the same player has taken six attempts in a row.
Toronto will look to win their eighth Canadian Championship this month, and if they do, the path will have gone through Montreal on six of those occasions.
There is no opponent that Toronto FC have played more often, beaten more often, or scored against with higher frequency than the Montreal Impact.
Toronto’s 70 goals and +19 goal differential vs. Montreal are both club records.
Jozy Altidore (who has 70 goals himself as a Red) has scored 11 times vs. the Impact — the most by any TFC player vs. any opponent.
That’s 11th goal for Altidore came on the last visit to Stade Saputo, a beautifully taken FK goal which sealed a Toronto victory.
LAST ACTION HEROES
Incredibly enough, four of the latest six goals scored in Toronto FC history have come against the Montreal Impact.
Benoit Cheyrou and Tosaint Ricketts scored in ET during the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals, Altidore scored on the last visit to Montreal — and Giovinco on the last time these two clubs met in this competititon.
Both Altidore and Jonathan Osorio have a chance to take the TFC scoring lead in the Voyageurs Cup, as they currently sit just one goal behind Giovinco.
And finally, there’s reason to believe that Drew Moor may get his 100th competitive start with the club in Montreal. Moor played all 180 minutes vs. Ottawa Fury in the last round of this competition.