CCL Recap: TFC keep CCL hopes alive with easy 3-0 win
Toronto FC finally found a way to win on Tuesday and kept their faint CONCACAF Champions League hopes alive in the process.
Terry Dunfield scored twice and Quincy Amarikwa scored the opening goal in the first half, while Ryan Johnson picked up a pair of assists as the Reds defeated CD Águila of El Salvador 3-0 at Estadio Cuscatlán in their third CCL group-stage match.
It was TFC's first win in all competitions since they defeated Águila 5-1 on Aug. 1 at BMO Field in their opening game of the CCL group stage.
Toronto’s victory sets up a match on Oct. 24 at Santos Laguna of Mexico that they must win by more than two goals, since Santos defeated Toronto 3-1 on Aug. 28 at BMO Field.
Toronto FC looked comfortable throughout the game, taking a 2-0 lead in the first half with Águila putting up little resistance, though the home side picked things up in the second half.
The Reds opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Johnson’s cross from the edge of the penalty area found Amarikwa near the left post, with the midseason acquistion heading home from a tight angle.
Amarikwa, who also scored in El Salvador in CCL play with the Colorado Rapids, looked hungry throughout the night and also helped set up Toronto's second goal.
Dunfield capitalized on a giveaway by Aguila, on a giveaway by Águila, winning the ball and feeding to Amarikwa, who in turn found Johnson. The Jamaican took a heavy touched as he beared down on the left side, forcing him to look for the onrushing Dunfield for the tap-in.
Toronto had a fright in the opening moments if the second half when Luis Silva was felled by a harsh challenge to the back of the knee by Henry Romero. The rookie was attended to for a good chunk of time, and though he was initially able to continue, he was soon replaced by Eric Avila.
Toronto had a chance to go three up in the 76th minute when Reggie Lambe burst behind the Águila defense and put the ball in front to Johnson, who hit his shot off the bar from close range.
The visitors did get a third goal in the 86th minute when Dunfield put home a shot from the center of the box that was only partially blocked before bouncing into the goal. It came from a cross by Ashtone Morgan after a strong run up the left side.
TFC managed to secure the result and clean sheet with Richard Eckersley and Darren O'Dea, who did not dress for the match for precautionary reasons after suffering knocks in a 4-2 loss to the LA Galaxy. Eric Hassli and Milos Kocic stayed in Toronto, the former still nursing an ankle injury and the latter welcoming newborn triplets into his family.
Águila dealt with absences of their own, as they had four players missing because of call ups to El Salvador’s national team including former Chivas USA midfielder Osael Romero and first-choice 'keeper Benji Villalobos.
Toronto return to MLS action on Saturday when they travel to New York, but will be focused squarely on the Santos Laguna showdown with the playoffs out of reach. Águila's CCL slate is finished, with the club having lost all four of its game, scoring just one goal and conceding 17.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Terry Dunfield||Showed good opportunism and willingness to get forward on his two goals, dictated things in the midfield, in part thanks to the space Aguila gave him|
|2||Ryan Johnson||Assisted on both first-half goals, probably should've had one of his own when he smashed the crossbar from close range in the second|
|3||Quincy Amarikwa||Hit an inch-perfect header for the first goal, helped on the second, and showed great desire throughout the match|