Jozy Altidore scores in season debut as Toronto FC narrowly edges Revolution

Toronto FC
TORONTO, ON — MARCH 17: Toronto FC defender Auro (96) jumps into that arms of Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola (20) after his goal. Toronto FC vs New England Revolution during 1st half action in MLS regular season play at BMO Field. This is the season opener for TFC. Toronto Star/Rick Madonik (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Toronto, Ontario, Canada (March 18, 2019) — Jozy Altidore knows how to make an entrance. The Toronto FC striker did so on Sunday night, propelling his side to a victory at home over the New England Revolution.

Altidore made his season debut in the 68th minute. He’s been since the end of last season with an ankle injury. Back in October, Altidore received surgery for the injury. Meanwhile, on Sunday night, all of his rehab paid off with a game-winning goal.

Jozy Altidore scores in season debut as Toronto FC narrowly edges Revolution

All tied up at 2-2, Altidore snuck a shot past New England goalkeeper Brad Knighton to give Toronto the final lead. For the second time in club history, Toronto has now won their first two matches of the season. After the match, Altidore said the whole play happened because of fellow forward Ayo Akinola.

“It’s a great team goal and great build up,” Altidore said. “We needed him tonight. We were pressed for numbers up front. If he didn’t clear that space, there would’ve been tap-in.”

Altidore continued to say how the fan support meant the world to him in his return.

“Everybody knows how much I love being here and playing for these people, these fans and the city,” Altidore said. “So to have that reciprocated back is a great feeling. I just want to keep giving more to them… This is going to be my house for a long time. I love being here. This is a special city.”

In regard to Akinola, the young striker notched the first goal of the match. After beating around New England defenders, Akinola took a shot inside the box, surrounded by three defenders. The goal is his first in the MLS. Meanwhile, Jordan Hamilton scored Toronto’s second goal — on his birthday.

As for the Revolution, Carles Gil tapped in both goals. His first goal came on a penalty kick, which was earned when Toronto defender Chris Mavinga brought down Teal Bunbury inside the box.

Three Takeaways

  1. Toronto’s defense was a nightmare: Despite recording a victory, Toronto’s defense had a rough night at BMO Field. The penalty conceded by Mavinga was a poor decision, as the foul came from behind Bunbury. As a veteran defender, Mavinga should know better. Meanwhile, on Gil’s second goal, there was no effort from the defense. Gil had all the time in the world and no pressure on him. Once he took the shot, which was on the ground, there was no urgency from the defense. Toronto needs to clean the defense up.
  2. Jordan Hamilton’s goal should’ve gone to VAR: Offsides by at least a mile — actually it was about five yards — Hamilton got lucky on his birthday. It’s a poor job by referee Ted Unkel and VAR referees Geoff Gamble and Philippe Briere for not taking a closer look. Toronto FC got lucky. With that said, New England needs to reinforce the idea of playing until the whistle. After realizing Hamilton was offsides, Antonio Mlinar Delamea essentially gave up on the play, not putting pressure on Jay Chapman.
  3. Ayo Akinola is a bright spot for Toronto: Altidore isn’t getting any younger and eventually he will retire or begin to sit back a bit. Ayo Akinola had a great game against New England, weaving his way through defenders. After the match, Altidore said that he’s always on his back in training. However, it looks like that extra coaching from the veteran Altidore is helping the young striker.

What’s Next?

The international break is going to effect both teams, but New England has a match this weekend. On Sunday, the Revolution will host expansion club FC Cincinnati at Gillette Stadium.

Cincinnati is coming off a 3-0 victory against Portland.

Meanwhile, Toronto FC get another extended rest. Toronto will face New York City FC at BMO Field on March 29. NYCFC has a bit of confidence under their belt after drawing with Los Angeles FC.

 

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