In a match of first versus last, Toronto FC’s 2-0 victory over DC United came as expected, but it doesn’t mean that some things still didn’t catch you by surprise. Like, for example, this being only the 100th victory in TFC history. Yes, it did take quite some time to reach that milestone, but let’s not dwell on that horrid past when the present is so much better to look at. The fans and the team were revved up for this contest as they both realized that a full three points would not only keep them on top of the league, but were very important because points may be hard to come by as they begin another scheduling farce that is both crazy and unfair… but more on that later.
After a 3-0 loss to New England ended their unbeaten streak at 8 games, TFC were looking to bounce back and quickly get back to winning ways. So were the fans as the atmosphere they created for the team from the get go was outstanding. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and therefore after the two week international break, the fans were enthusiastic to say the least. For a regular season game, this was one of the loudest singings of both anthems, not to mention having a new song or two.
— GerardRichardson (@GerardPhoto00) June 18, 2017
The crowd’s momentum helped propel the team at the start, but it is difficult really to describe the first half of the game. TFC dominated the ball with 62% of the possession and had a number of chances but they weren’t able to score. DC, despite looking out matched for most of the half, still gave you the impression they could easily get a lucky bounce and steal the game. So as much fun as it was to watch TFC dominate the ball with their spot on passing, you were still nervous of the outcome. At times it really looked like they were teasing their opponents as if they were playing keep away with a younger sibling. I had to check a couple of times to make sure that United weren’t playing with 10 men.
As much possession and scoring chances that TFC had however, you have to give credit for the defensive game that DC played. They always had numbers back and they did everything they could to disrupt TFC’s flow. In fact, if DC were playing with only 10 men as I had imagined, it would have been with one goalie and nine defenders.
— Toronto FC (@torontofc) June 17, 2017
It took some magic from all three of Toronto FC’s designated players to open the scoring in the 59th minute. Michael Bradley, in his 100th career game for TFC, took the ball away from DC United’s Luciano Acosta and passed it up the right side of the field to Sebastian Giovinco who had just crossed the centre line. Giovinco took one touch to settle it down and then quickly crossed it to a streaking Jozy Altidore just outside the 18 yard box. Altidore showed his class with a touch and then shot it past a sprawled Bill Hamid. Second half substitute Jordan Hamilton, who scored the game winner for TFC II earlier in the week, made it 2-0 when his glancing header found the far post from a Giovinco short corner.
As mentioned earlier, the win was important because the Reds have a tough, tough schedule ahead of them where they play 6 games in 19 days. Michael Bradley called the nightmarish schedule a “joke” and he is absolutely correct. After their victory over DC on Saturday, they now play Wednesday, Friday, Tuesday, Saturday and Wednesday. These aren’t easy games either as they have a home and home with their rivals Montreal Impact for the Canadian Championships and if you recall last year’s playoffs, this will be a true test. Then you play at home to New England (one of only two teams have beat them this year), then play away at Dallas and Orlando who are both in playoff positions. It is a ridiculous schedule for any one team to undertake and will test their depth as you will see a number of different starting elevens. This won’t be a case of seeing what lineup choices coach Greg Vanney will make, it will be a case of seeing what lineup choices does Vanney even have.
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