TORONTO – They can't all be pretty.
Toronto FC extended their home winning streak to six matches and ensured they would remain top of the league for another weekend with a 2-0 win over the New England Revolution on Friday night at BMO Field.
Playing on short rest, the side flew out the gates, looking to win it in the opening minutes. The Revolution would resist, before eventually succumbing in the 11th minute to a strike from Drew Moor, a sliding finish that forced an Armando Cooper ball in at the back post.
New England would look to take advantage of any tired legs in the second half, but a 96th minute coup-de-grace from Sebastian Giovinco sealed the result.
“We've talked about a couple gutsy performances this year – Seattle, Columbus. This has to go up there, right at the top,” said TFC head coach Greg Vanney post-match. “Turning around in 48 hours, the guys who played 90 [midweek] and started were great, the guys we called upon stepped in, did the job, so that we could pick up three points. A gutsy performance by a team that goes out and does what it needs to do to win games.”
With this match falling between the two legs of the Canadian Championship it would have been easy for Toronto to look beyond, but that is not their way.
“This group of players never goes in to draw a game. [They] have one result in mind; doing whatever they can to win the game,” explained Vanney. “It's a great mentality to have. Right now it is what is enabling us to stay on top of the league. Three points are a lot better than one.”
It was the side's second match in approximately 48 hours, their third in six days, never mind that there are three more on the horizon.
That did have some effect.
Asked how he felt afterwards, Moor, who played all 270 minutes, simply said: “Tired.”
“It was a good performance, a battle,” continued Moor. “People outside talk about what great players we have, what talent we have. But we have a bunch of warriors too, a bunch of beasts; willing to do a lot for this club. It's fun to be a part of. In MLS you can't just be a good team; you have to dig deep and get nasty sometimes. Everybody in this locker room [does that]."
TFC were able to make eight changes from the 11 that started Wednesday in Montreal, once more exhibiting that much-discussed depth. But a schedule like this has a way of catching up with any side; plenty of those expected to play on Tuesday (7:30 pm ET | TSN) went another full 90. Can they go again?
Said Vanney: “Right now, maybe a little [tiredness is creeping in]. But we were able to rest some guys tonight. We get an extra day of rest going the other way, we'll take advantage of that.”
“We're playing for a championship, so somewhere you find that energy and emotion to push yourself,” continued Vanney. “There might be somewhere down the road where we feel this a bit in this stretch. I don't think it was tonight and I don't think it'll be the next one. Given we're playing Montreal, for a championship, they'll be ready to go.”
Jozy Altidore, who endured a running battle of his own with both of New England's center backs all night, was eager to get back out there.
“Everybody is a bit tired, a bit run down, but another big one on Tuesday,” smiled Altidore. “When you're playing for a trophy all that goes out the window.”