Toronto FC went to Los Angeles with their first choice squad, and as far-fetched as a road win seemed, played well enough to earn all three points for the opening 90 minutes.
But in the end, a late penalty committed by Chris Mavinga in the box led to a 1-1 draw, which saw Toronto’s league unbeaten streak reach to eight and LA’s winless streak to five.
TFC heads back to BMO Field with their playoff future secured and with one last question to be answered for national glory: the 2019 Voyageurs Cup.
Coming at the 94:30 mark, well into added time, the Carlos Vela goal on Saturday night was the third latest goal scored vs. Toronto FC in their history.
Late-match discipline — or lack thereof — also seems to be a trend for this Toronto club. The last three PK goals that they’ve allowed have all come in added time. If Pity Martinez hadn’t skied the ball in the 96th minute earlier this summer, the list would be even longer.
Vela has only faced Toronto twice and has scored in added time on both occasions. He joins an exclusive club, becoming just the SEVENTH opponent to score multiple goals vs. TFC in the 90th minute and beyond.
Dropping points will always weigh heavy on a club, but doing so late in a match seems to have an added burden. Saturday was the 47th time in franchise history that Toronto’s opposition has managed to earn a win or draw in the 85th minute and beyond — including the third draw conceded by the Reds this summer.
As I have mentioned frequently, penalties have been on the rise for TFC. In fact, Toronto’s 10 PKs against (and 13 attempts) are both growing records this season.
That’s an almost unfathomable 32 attempts from 12 yards in less than three years.
Of note, Saturday marked the third time this season that Mavinga has conceded a penalty. It’s more noteworthy when you realize that the defender hadn’t given up a penalty for the Reds prior to 2019; That’s pretty remarkable considering the challenges and situations that Mavinga has found himself in over the span.
When Toronto welcomes Montreal to BMO Field on Wednesday to finish the 2019 Voyageurs Cup Final tie, there’s reason to think its outcome will be decided by their talismen.
Jozy Altidore has scored more goals vs. Montreal than any Red has scored against any opponent.
Conversely, no one has scored more goals against TFC than Montreal’s Ignacio Piatti.
WITH OR WITHOUT YOU
When Alex Bono takes his place beneath Toronto’s woodwork, he’ll do so for the 99th time. That number will tie him with Stefan Frei for the most in club history. Whether Bono will get a chance at his century with Toronto is hard to know.