TORONTO – Terry Dunfield's header in the final seconds of stoppage time secured a 3-2 win for Toronto FC over the Vancouver Whitecaps after a wild second half.
Dunfield, who was traded by Vancouver to Toronto three days shy of a year prior to the match, found himself in the center of the box and rose highest to get his head to a corner from Torsten Frings.
The winner came just after TFC goalkeeper Milos Kocic missed a punch on a cross lofted into the box that allowed Darren Mattocks to score his second goal of the game and sixth of the season in the 90th minute.
HIGHLIGHTS: TOR 3, VAN 2
Mattocks also scored five minutes into the second half to put the Whitecaps into the lead after a deadlocked first half.
But Toronto (3-11-4) came back with goals in the 69th and 72nd minutes. Rookie Luis Silva scored his first league goal to equalize and Frings scored his second of the season to put the Reds into the lead.
Vancouver (8-5-6) still fought on and Lee Young-Pyo rattled the right post in the 85th minute, just before Mattocks' equalizer.
The encounter was the only league game between the two teams this season, though the Reds posted a 2-1 aggregate win over the Whitecaps in the Amway Canadian Championship final.
The clash opened at a slow pace, the teams perhaps feeling the effects of their busy schedules – Vancouver were playing their fourth road game in a row since June 23 and Toronto were playing their eighth game since June 16.
However, the game sprung to life later in the first half, particularly with a couple of near misses by Toronto forward Ryan Johnson.
With five minutes left in the half, Johnson was put in alone but Joe Cannon came out to make the first big save of the game, followed up shortly by another solid save on Julian de Guzman.
Johnson broke in alone again in stoppage time off a pass from Silva, but his shot hit the right post.
Toronto finished the half a 9-5 advantage in attempts on goal and a 2-0 edge in shots on target.
Vancouver scored in the 50th minute when Mattocks broke free to the right of the goal and forced a save from Kocic. But with Kocic and defender Logan Emory still down, Mattocks recovered the ball and put it into the far corner from a tight angle.
Toronto tied it up 19 minutes later Silva got a foot down to redirect Ashtone Morgan’s cross from the left into the far corner of the net.
The equalizer sparked the home side into action and Silva was fouled not long after, forcing Cannon to make a sprawling save on Frings’ blast from the ensuing free kick.
The Reds continued to apply the pressure and when Cannon parried a cross in the 72nd minute it came all the way out to Frings, who drove home a low shot from outside the area through traffic and past Cannon.
Both teams will resume play on the road on Saturday, with Toronto traveling to New England and Vancouver visiting Chicago.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Torsten Frings||Veteran midfielder showed his class on both sides of the ball, scored excellent second goal and set up third with a corner kick|
|2||Darren Mattocks||His two goals showcased his great finishing instinct and freakish athleticism. Cemented his credentials as Rookie of the Year frontrunner|
|3||Luis Silva||One of TFC's biggest attacking threats with a clever finish and some exciting play throughout the game|