TORONTO, Canada—Toronto FC had three points in the bag Saturday night against a struggling D.C. United squad, but once again allowed a late lead to slip away.
TFC fans received an unpleasant surprise prior to kickoff after Auro Jr. (ankle) was absent from Greg Vanney’s 18. In addition, Chris Mavinga and Laurent Ciman were only fit enough to make the bench, meaning Eriq Zavaleta would earn the start at centre-back.
After a positive opening to the game, controlling and dictating the play, Toronto FC got off their much-anticipated nightmare start at the back. Omar Gonzalez, playing his unnatural left side due to Zavaleta’s presence, carelessly sprung Ola Kamara from the halfway line and the D.C. United attacker made no mistake.
It was only D.C. United’s fourth goal since the MLS is Back Tournament. Shoutout Quentin Westberg who got a hand to it.
Still continuing to dominate play, the Reds would answer shortly after. Who else but Richie Laryea made his way down the right wing, and the Canadian international’s cross would eventually drop into the lap of Alejandro Pozuelo who made no mistake.
The talented Spaniard is producing at a prolific rate, while regardless of position, Laryea continues to create; this is probably the third assist he’s been robbed of this season due to deflection.
The twists & turns from the Reds weren’t done just yet. After the opening 45, striker Jozy Altidore was subbed out of the match for Ayo Akinola. Altidore had been quiet in the first half, but nevertheless, playing just 45 minutes raised eyebrows across #TFCLive. Vanney would confirm after the match that Altidore was lifted due to a heel injury, but it doesn’t seem too serious.
The MLS is Back star would pounce at his opportunity. After creating a few half-chances, Akinola would make his mark in the 60th minute, heading home his sixth goal of the season to take a 2-1 lead.
The Brampton, Ontario-native’s presence was refreshing after a sluggish start from Altidore.
And all was looking well for Toronto FC until the 88th minute. After shifting to a 3-5-2 at the back, a major mix-up in their own box saw three TFC players go for the same ball, and the end result as you can probably guess wasn’t pretty.
17 year old Griffin Yow would get on the end of a Gonzalez header and volley home to tie the game. It was the youngster’s first goal in Major League Soccer.
The match would finish 2-2 as the Reds would drop points to D.C. United for the second time this season. At the MLS is Back Tournament, the Reds led 2-0 before conceding twice in the second half to only walk away with a draw.
Obviously, a frustrating evening for Toronto FC overall. They’re back at it on Wednesday vs. NYCFC.