TORONTO – Terry Dunfield does not score many goals as a defensive midfielder, but he picked the perfect time to tally one on Wednesday evening.
In the dying seconds of stoppage time against his former team, the Vancouver Whitecaps, he headed home a ball from Torsten Frings for the game-winning goal to complete a wild second half which saw the two teams exchange five goals.
And Toronto FC, so often the victim of a late goal and nearly so again after Darren Mattocks' 91st-minute equalizer, won 3-2 over the Whitecaps, who were seeking to avenge their Amway Canadian Championship loss back in May.
OPTA Chalkboard: Toronto's attacking outburst
HIGHLIGHTS: TOR 3, VAN 2
It was Dunfield’s first goal of the season and it came against the team that traded the Vancouver native to Toronto three days shy of a year ago.
“I’d be lying I didn’t say if there was one team I could score the winner against, it would be Vancouver,” Dunfield said. “And in extra time like that, the script is written maybe, I don’t know.”
Through a smile that wouldn’t stop, Dunfield’s right eye still showed some bruising, the result of stopping a shot directed at the TFC goal in the second half of last Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at FC Dallas, a play that left him shaken up. This time, though he got the right part of his head on the ball.
“It’s a good thing it didn’t hit my eye,” he quippped.
Dunfield’s header came after Mattocks had started the stoppage time by tying goal the game but with a few minutes still to be played, Toronto FC pressed for the win and got the breakthrough they needed from a corner kick
“I went to block Jay DeMerit and free Danny [Koevermans],” Dunfield said. “Torsten took an extra second getting the ball in. I just spun around and saw that I was unmarked and just tried to direct it towards goal.”
It is not the first time Dunfield has scored in a Vancouver-Toronto match. He scored for the Whitecaps in their 4-2 victory over Toronto at Vancouver in the then-expansion side's first MLS game last season, showing a flair for the dramatic.
“That’s my style,” he quipped. “I can’t stop smiling now, it really is incredible. It’s going to be tough to stay grounded and get ready for New England this weekend.”
But Dunfield has showed that his heart is in the right place, and so is his head.