The two big off season acquisitions of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore connected to help Toronto FC rally to defeat the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 at BC Place on Saturday.
The match highlighted what both squads’ new designated players were capable of. Whitecaps DP Octavio Rivero made his presence felt in his debut when he nearly scored in the ninth minute. But the Uruguayan missed the tap in from less than six yards from the net. Rivero bounced back ten minutes later by making the most of the space left by Toronto’s high back line. Defender Pa Modou Kah sent a long ball to the left flank for Rivero who needed just two touches before slotting it past keeper Joe Bendik.
Vancouver controlled the pace for most of the first half and left Toronto looking slow in defense. TFC’s back line played high which gave the Whitecaps plenty of space in transition and a handful of solid scoring chances off the break. Offensively, the Reds had a difficult time of creating opportunities the final third and found themselves knocked off the ball.
In the 32nd minute TFC were able to string together a sequence of clean touches in pursuit of an equalizer. Jonathan Osorio fended off fellow Canadian International Russel Teibert and slipped the ball to Giovinco. The Italian threaded a pass, which appeared to be intended for Robert Findlay, through three Whitecaps. However Findlay lost his footing which created space for Altidore to run in. The American stepped by keeper David Ousted, and knocked off a right footed shot to the bottom left of the goal.
Despite the scoreline at the half, Toronto FC appeared badly out-paced. The pace of the match changed considerably in the second half in favour of the Reds as Vancouver wasn't able to break out in transition as easily as it had during the first 45.
Toronto took advantage of the swing in momentum in the 59th minute. Bradley sent a ball from just inside the defending half to Benoit Cheyrou up the middle. Cheyrou found Brandon Morrow on the run on the left flank. He sent a low cross to Findlay who crept behind the Whitecaps defense to score from close range.
The Whitecaps threatening presence from the first half seemed to have disappeared. In the 89th minute substitute Collen Warner fed a long range pass to the top of the box for Altidore who was hauled down in front of the net by Kah. The Gambian was shown yellow for his challenge and TFC were awarded a penalty shot.
Altidore stepped up and converted a cheeky chip straight down the middle from the spot over Ousted for his second of the contest, matching his total during his time at Sunderland.
This is Toronto FC’s first MLS regular season win at BC Place. Toronto continue its seven game road swing March 14th against the Columbus Crew.