A second half brace from Nashville SC's Luke Haakenson led his side to en epic second half comeback win over Toronto FC at Nissan Stadium Wednesday evening.
Haakenson scored a brace in the final 10 minutes of the match, notching goals in the 83rd and 92nd minute of play to lead his side to victory
The home side began the match with a controlling tempo, working through their Designated Players' Randall Leal and Hany Mukhtar. The duo combined early with some combination play down the right hand side of the pitch, but the Toronto defense was resilient, holding them off each time.
Toronto eventually found their way into the game, however, with the away side opening the scoring in the 26th minute of play through Jonathan Osorio.The Canadian midfielder was fed a delicious ball across the 6' yard box from teammate Auro and he slotted home in the bottom left corner. Osorio's opener was the first goal ever scored by a Toronto player against Nashville while also being an extension of his club record, being the 23rd opponent he has ever scored against.
It wasn't until the 62nd minute when Nashville found themselves on the scoresheet. 2020 Superdraft pick Jack Maher stepped up to the plate to score his first career MLS goal, and it happened to be on his first start of the 2021 season, too.
As the match went on, neither team seemed to be asserting dominance over the other, but Toronto substitute Patrick Mullins eventually scored what thought would be a game-winner moments after coming on in the 79th minute. He headed home a Michael Bradley corner to put his side up 2-1.
But not even 120 seconds later, the game's course altered dramatically. Nashville's Luke Haakenson clapped back by scoring his first-ever MLS goal to bring his side level in the 83rd minute. And Hakenson's heroics didn't stop there. The 23-year-old scored the go-ahead game winner in 90+2, adding to what ended up being a memorable night for the young American, giving Nashville all three points.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Nashville obtained a crucial three points at home against an Eastern Conference Rival. For Gary Smith's side, it was an important step forward following a series of mixed results over the course of their first eight matches. Following their victory, they jumped from 10th in the East to 6th. For Toronto FC, it's their fourth straight loss and they sit second to last in 13th place. Toronto boss Chris Armas has to figure out how to integrate 2020 league MVP Alejandro Pozuelo into the game more while also commanding his defense to close out matches.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Luke Haakenson's 92nd minute goal. Defender Daniel Lovitz took the ball down the pitch single-handedly to find a brilliant run being made by Haakenson, who finds himself behind the Toronto defense with a clear shot on frame.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Luke Haakenson. The young American came on in the 59th minute and eventually scored a brace over the course of the final 12 minutes of the match to lead his side to three points at home. It was a night to remember for Haakenson, who scored his first two professional goals to lead his team to a big win over a Conference opponent.
- NSH: Saturday, June 26 vs FC Montreal | 8:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+) | 2021 Regular Season
- TOR: Saturday, June 26 vs FC Cincinnati | 7:00 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+) | 2021 Regular Season