Toronto FC came out of the blocks strong in their second Group C match much like they did in the opener; but, this time, the Reds got across the finish line, spoils in hand, despite the heavy breathing behind them.
The club’s first 180 minutes in Orlando have been dramatic (to say the least) but thanks to a couple teammates hanging crooked numbers on the score sheet, they come away with four points, virtually locking in their chances to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.
Ayo Akinola is starting up front for Toronto FC in place of a resting Jozy Altidore. Akinola struck for both goals against DC United, registering his first brace for the club. He entered Thursday’s match on two days rest—and with a chance at history. He did not disappoint.
Akinola scored Toronto’s second and third goal of the night within a 12-minute span. His second goal was just 46 seconds after Montreal had leveled the score at 2-2.
While I can’t speak to the exact record for quickest goal answered by a Toronto player, I would put Sebastian Giovinco’s 41 second answer to Montreal’s Ignacio Piatti back in 2017 as an extremely strong candidate.
Akinola found the net twice in 12 minutes, which seemed breathtaking at the time, but a club as explosive as this has a handful of braces in it’s history under 3.5 minutes!
In case you're wondering where Akinola's 12 minute brace ranks in @TorontoFC history, here are their quickest 6 braces (under 3.5 minutes) #TFCLive @WakingtheRed @vocalminorityCA @24thminute @joshuakloke pic.twitter.com/lHBZ9Ssqtp— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) July 17, 2020
But of course, you haven’t come here to hear about his brace. Toronto woke up with full points this morning only because Akinola found the net THREE times last night.
It was just the ninth hat-trick in the 14-year history of the club and by doing so, Akinola became the third youngest player in MLS history to score three times in a match. The native of Brampton, Ontario also became the first player to record a hat-trick in a 401 Derby MLS match.
Akinola now has five goals in two matches in this tournament, and seven on his Reds career, which leaves him, at least temporarily, in a very exclusive club!
List of @TorontoFC players who's goal total > or = start total in all competitions— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) July 17, 2020
Akinola 7 starts, 7 goals
Achara 1 start, 1 goal
*not all goals scored as a starter#TFCLive @WakingtheRed @24thminute @vocalminorityCA
Assuming Akinola sees minutes against the New England Revolution on Tuesday morning, he’ll have an opportunity to add his name in the club’s record book, yet again.
Akinola set the @TorontoFC record with 5 goals in 2 matches.— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) July 17, 2020
He’s ALREADY tied the club record for goals in 3 matches.
If he scores against the Revs, bye bye Seba.
Are you betting against him? #TFCLive @WakingtheRed @24thminute @vocalminorityCA @LukeWileman @KristianJack pic.twitter.com/VuyeSv9Ztk
To go along with Akinola’s handful of goals, teammate Alejandro Pozuelo has a handful of assists in the first two games in this tournament—setting a staggering pace.
We may not know how many matches 2020 will have, but @Pozuelo_10 seems well on his way to @TorontoFC sixth 10+ assist campaign (regular season) #TFCLive @WakingtheRed @24thminute @WakingtheRed pic.twitter.com/6TVneF9uaN— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) July 17, 2020
In the first match of the tournament, Toronto famously gave back a two goal lead in the final six minutes for the first time in club history. This time, the claw back fell one short for the opposition, as Saphir Taider converted his second penalty of the match, in the 95th minute.
Outside of the scoreline, the goal was remarkable for a couple reasons. It was the third latest goal scored against Toronto in their history.
Saphir Taider’s second goal last night was the third latest ever scored against @TorontoFC (credit to the hydration breaks) #TFCLive @WakingtheRed @24thminute @vocalminorityCA pic.twitter.com/ddOimtTnGm— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) July 17, 2020
As I said earlier, it was also his second from the spot, which has only happened a handful of times against the Reds.
Akinola and Taider made this just the 15th match in 14 years to feature a brace or better for both clubs.
Like a proper derby, this one had fireworks. That’s something we’ve grown accustom to when these teams meet up.
You like a derby?@TorontoFC have now scored 75 of their alltime 731 goals (10.3%) against @impactmontreal alone. #TFCLive @WakingtheRed @vocalminorityCA @24thminute @joshuakloke @KristianJack @LukeWileman https://t.co/CbZMwG7gO6— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) July 17, 2020
Last night was just one goal shy of tying the club record for highest scoring match — familiar real estate in this derby.
Last night was the 13th time @TorontoFC have been in a 7+ goal match (8 is the record). Four of those matches have included @impactmontreal— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) July 17, 2020
3-5 - MLS
6-1 - Voyageurs Cup
5-2 - MLS Cup Playoffs
4-3 - MLS is Back Tournament #TFCLive @WakingtheRed @24thminute @vocalminorityCA pic.twitter.com/sjMwrDJq8F
Toronto will shore up their place in the Final 16 when they meet the Revolution on Tuesday at 9am.