HIGHLIGHTS: Chicago Fire FC vs. Toronto FC | July 24, 2021
Yeferson Soteldo added his second MLS goal two minutes into his ninth Reds appearance, helping Toronto remain unbeaten four matches into interim manager Javier Perez's tenure.
Alex Bono made 13 saves, several of the exceptional variety, to smash a 13-year-old club record and keep the hosts from finding an equalizer. However, Alvaro Medran pulled a goal back for the Fire moments after DeLeon made it 2-0.
Chicago tied a club record with 31 attempts on target, but couldn't avoid seeing their winless run grow to three matches. They've been competing without head coach Raphael Wicky, who's absent due to a family health matter.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Toronto's results have been better since manager Chris Armas' dismissal, but their defense continues to leave a lot to be desired. The Reds allowed 3.5 expected goals (xG) to the Fire. They also trailed the Red Bulls 1.7 to 0.3 in xG their last time out, but were able to grind out a 1-1 home draw. As for Chicago, they failed to capitalize on one of the most lively performances of the season from young playmaker Ignacio Aliseda, who by himself had more than a full goal's worth of xG.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Toronto's second goal should go into the coaching textbook in the section that covers attacking with numbers. It came from a counter that began when Alejandro Pozuelo was played down the left into space, but facing a 1-on-3 in the final third. While the 2020 Landon Donovan MLS MVP has earned the right to try his luck in that situation, he instead smartly cycled the ball back. The end result was a second phase of the counter that ultimately saw DeLeon played in on goal for a clinical finish from close range.
GOAL: Nick DeLeon, Toronto FC - 76th minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Alex Bono. Soteldo was also excellent down the left for most of the evening, but it was Bono who made his excellence matter while breaking the TFC record of 10 saves set by Greg Sutton in a 1-0 win over Colorado in 2008. Vancouver and Canada national team goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau set the MLS record of 16 on Aug. 24, 2019 in a 3-1 loss to San Jose.