TORONTO – This match promised to be one of the most heated encounters in the Eastern Conference, and Toronto FC and Sporting Kansas City did not disappoint as the visiting side claimed a thrilling 2-1 win.
The two teams were locked at 1-1 in a back-and-forth encounter when substitute Jacob Peterson gave 10-man Sporting the lead against his former team after the TFC backline failed to clear a bouncing ball in the box.
Missing the suspended Jermain Defoe (caution accumulation), Toronto FC nonetheless created the bulk of the chances in the opening stanza, and their pressure paid off in the 16th minute. Dominic Oduro took a lovely first touch out of the air past Matt Besler, then looked up and saw Jackson rushing into the box and slipped a through ball towards the Brazilian winger, who rounded opposing 'keeper Andy Gruenebaum before slotting home with ease.
Minutes later, the first big talking point of many came up as Gilberto looked to have broken through the KC backline only to come into contact with the chasing Aurelien Collin, who did not get the ball, but was adjudged not to have fouled the Brazilian, allowing him to walk away without even a yellow card.
Each card and foul was greeted with a chorus of boos from the BMO Field faithful, growing in volume as the half dwindled down. But those boos were drowned out in noise on two occasions as both Nick Hagglund and Oduro smacked the post.
Despite the numerous moments of drama, Toronto FC and Sporting Kansas City walked into the locker rooms with the home side holding a 1-0 advantage over the reigning MLS Cup champions. That advantage didn’t last long, however, as Sporting quickly found an equalizer through Graham Zusi, who curled the ball into an open net after a scramble in the area.
As in the first half, Oduro continued to torment Seth Sinovic on the right wing, but couldn't find another assist to Jackson after the Brazilian winger scuffed a pinpoint feed from close range in the 66th minute. Despite the early goal, it was largely a rough day out for Jackson, who also shot straight at Gruenebaum twice while wide open, after being picked out by Gilberto.
On one such corner, Toronto FC quickly counterattacked with Oduro bursting through on goal from a wide position, but he was tugged down by Igor Juliao, who saw yellow for the challenge.
Still, Oduro persevered, and in the 75th minute, he burst past Besler and forced him into making a foul, one that saw the defender pick up his second yellow card of the night, and then a flash of red.
But that wouldn’t stop Sporting, as another poor clearance attempt landed to the foot of Peterson, who slotted home with 10 minutes to go to give Kansas City the lead. The final 10 minutes was tense for the home crowd as Toronto created chance after chance, but couldn’t find an equalizer of their own.
Toronto next travel to RFK Stadium to take on D.C. United on Wednesday. Sporting KC host the Philadelphia Union on Friday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Dominic Oduro||His team lost, but Oduro did a lot right and very little wrong today. Tormented Sporting down the right, served up a beautiful assist to Jackson, and drew Besler's second yellow.|
|2||Andy Gruenebaum||Not many of his saves were spectacular, but they didn't have to be as he was in the right place at the right time despite plenty of good looks from Toronto.|
|3||Michael Bradley||His distribution and ability to cover ground were excellent, and his ball was responsible for the controversial coming together between Collin and Gilberto in the first half|