Today @TorontoFC begin their 14th @MLS campaign - on the road for the 13th time! #TFCLive are UNDEFEATED in their last 5 Road Openers - 4 Wins, 1 Draw #TheyWillSeeRed @WakingtheRed @24thminute @vocalminorityCA @joshuakloke pic.twitter.com/Z4CGwqqlUL— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) February 29, 2020
It had been almost a decade since the Reds had earned all three points in the Bay Area—back when the Earthquakes played their games at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Tonight @TorontoFC will be looking for their first win in San Jose in almost a decade. #TFCLive are 2-0 when scoring multiple goals, and winless in 5 when held to a single goal or less. #TheyWillSeeRed @WakingtheRed @24thminute @vocalminorityCA @joshuakloke pic.twitter.com/2Gi4GRp7oL— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) February 29, 2020
After a relatively (and refreshingly) quiet offseason, the Reds fielded a Starting XI entirely composed of returning players.
In fact, Jonathan Osorio, Justin Morrow, Jozy Altidore and Mark Delgado (and Michael Bradley later this Summer) continued to mark a backbone of a club that has remained with the club for the better part of a decade.
With just a handful of minutes before halftime, Alejandro Pozuelo managed to open his sophomoric account in the same manner he opened his freshman one—with a cool, collected offering from the penalty spot.
Pozuelo continues to build on his franchise-best conversion rate for the Reds (min. 2 attempts).
Now @Pozuelo_10 is now 7 for 8 in PK conversions for @TorontoFC #TFCLive best % with more than 2 opportunities #TheyWillSeeRed @WakingtheRed @joshuakloke @24thminute @vocalminorityCA pic.twitter.com/0J9FxsYQ6N— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) February 29, 2020
Pozuelo joined teammate Jozy Altidore and the man he replaced—Sebastian Giovinco—as the only Reds to convert from the spot in a League Opener.
Richie Laryea became the first substitute of the season, and quickly parlayed his fresh pace and fortuitous real estate into a 2-0 lead—his second-ever MLS goal.
At this point, it seems like a great time to point out that coach Greg Vanney was sitting on the precipice of club history (you should see my drafts folder).
Seems like a decent time to mention that Greg Vanney is on 99 @TorontoFC wins #TFCLive #TheyWillSeeRed @WakingtheRed @vocalminorityCA @24thminute @joshuakloke @KristianJack @LukeWileman pic.twitter.com/UKk1l1JYso— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) February 29, 2020
After the Earthquakes quickly cut the lead in half, however, they turned a man who’s no stranger to breaking opponents’ hearts.
And though Chris Wondolowski has filled more nets than anyone in league history, he has a particular flavour for turning the trick against Toronto: he’s scored more MLS goals against the Reds than any other player.
With Toronto looking to close out added time, Tsubasa Endoh conceded a soft foul on the edge of the box, post-megging, which led to some late drama from Oswaldo Alanis.
The equalizer was the fifth latest goal allowed in Toronto FC history...
...it was only the 3rd FK goal allowed by TFC in added time...
...and a reminder of familiar woes from seasons past.
Toronto will take their sole point home and prepare for Saturday’s home opener against New York City FC.