Toronto FC overcame a halftime deficit, getting second-half goals from Jozy Altidore, Alejandro Pozuelo, and Richie Laryea, for a big 3-1 win over Columbus Crew SC at Rentschler Field at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford on Sunday night.
TFC 'keeper Quentin Westberg was able to control all the Crew attempts during the first half, including a 22nd-minute Gyasi Zardes shot that he managed to kick save away. But he couldn't stop an on-target shot from his own player in the 40th minute. Chris Mavinga misjudged a dangerous Pedro Santos pass, getting an ill-advised foot to it as Westberg charged forward, allowing the Crew to take a lead into halftime.
Toronto certainly made effective halftime adjustments, immediately looking the more threatening side as play resumed. In the 48th minute, Laryea got forward and sent a ball to Pozuelo at the top of the box. He sent a softly-rolling ball Altidore's way, and from beyond the 18, the striker smashed it into the back of the net to equalize.
After a number of changes to go ahead, Laryea ignited the attack again in the 59th minute, with Pozuelo deftly finishing his assist, making it the third straight match he's scored in for the first time in his career. Then Laryea finally scored himself, running through three Crew defenders near the goalmouth before finishing on a tight-angle shot.
- 40' – CLB – Chris Mavinga (OG) | WATCH
- 48' – TOR – Jozy Altidore | WATCH
- 59' – TOR – Alejandro Pozuelo | WATCH
- 76' – TOR – Richie Laryea | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: TFC took well to its new temporary East Hartford home with the win, which leaves it just two points behind the Crew in a tightening East race that also involves the Union. Lo and behold, Toronto and Philadelphia meet next Saturday in which should be a huge contest with playoff implications. The Crew will be left doing a bit of head-scratching, appearing the better side in the first half only to hear "Brass Bonanza" three times in the second half. And, to borrow from pro wrestling, "That's the Hartford Whalers music they're playing!"
Not even retweeting because of the Brass Bonanza. This is just a beautiful goal! https://t.co/zFdGdK61wU— Hartford Whalers (@WhalersPlates) September 28, 2020
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Though all three Toronto goals were important and consequential and Laryea's really was the most fun to watch, Pozuelo's was the pivotal go-ahead goal.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Laryea fueled the second-half comeback with penetrating runs down the right flank. But Pozuelo deserves the honor after scoring in his third straight match and continuing to be vital to TFC's recent rise.