At the risk of continuing the neutrals’ love fest with Toronto FC, the Reds found a new way to impress on Sunday.
Greg Vanney left Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore at home for Saturday night’s match in Carson against the LA Galaxy, a risky proposition for any team given the propensity for away teams to lose in Major League Soccer.
Even keeping in mind that LA is terrible at home this season — the Galaxy are one of only two teams with a sub .500 record at home — Toronto improved its league-best record to 18W-3L-8T with a 4-0 trouncing of Sigi Schmid’s side.
Tosaint Ricketts scored twice, while Drew Moor and Victor Vazquez also bagged goals for the Reds in running 11 points clear of New York City FC in the Supporters’ Shield standings. TFC would have to put forth a pure and unfettered collapse in order to miss out on its first one.
Vazquez added an assist, and goalkeeper Alex Bono also posted a helper on the final goal of the rout. Additionally, right wing back Steven Beitashour also missed out as Nicolas Hasler assisted on the second goal in his stead.
The game in 100 words (or less): If Toronto can keep this pace up, they may very well avenge their MLS Cup loss from a season ago. Even without Sebastian Giovinco on Wednesday night, Greg Vanney’s side managed to take care of business at MAPFRE Stadium courtesy of Tosaint Ricketts and his nine-minute brace to close the match. The Canadian veteran came on in the first half as a substitute but his performance after the halftime break made all the difference for TFC, recording two of the teams three shots on target (both of which were goals). Despite an overwhelming amount of chances early on from Federico Higuain and the Crew attack, Greg Berhalter and co. will remain second in the Eastern Conference on 18 points, while TFC tops the East with 22 points in 11 matches.
The game in 100 words (or less): Whether or not he’s scoring goals, Jozy Altidore remains a difference-maker for Toronto FC. When the big man missed nine straight games with a hamstring injury earlier this summer, TFC’s form plummeted, resulting in a 2W-4T-3L record. It was hardly a coincidence that TFC superstar Sebastian Giovinco went without a single goal during that period. On Wednesday, making his second substitute appearance since returning to the first team, Altidore came up big and helped to set up the only goal, scored by Canadian international and recent signing Tosaint Ricketts, in TFC’s 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake at BMO Field. All of that is to say, Altidore is a good striker and an even better role player for a team that looks destined to make some serious news in the playoffs this year. Now, if only they weren’t paying a glorified role player close to $5 million per season. With the victory, TFC are now second in the Eastern Conference, while RSL’s slide continues (just five wins in their last 17 games) down to fifth place in the West.
68′ — Ricketts gets behind and fires past Rimando — Altidore provides the deftest of flicks on the long ball out of the back, and Justen Glad misses with his header. At that point, Ricketts only has the finish to worry about, and he gets it spot-on.
77′ — Bono rushes out to deny Burrito — Alex Bono was thrust into the starting job when Clint Irwin went down with an injury more than a month ago. In his seven starts since, the 22-year-old sophomore has now compiled a record of 4W-2T-1L. He was quick off his line to deny Juan Manuel “El Burrito” Martinez with time winding down in this one.
Toronto FC now has the market cornered on Rickettses.
The MLS side scooped up Canadian international Tosaint Ricketts — no relation to former attacking mid Rohan — on Wednesday, bringing the 28-year-old striker back to North America for the first time since his college years at Green Bay.
“We are pleased to add another Canadian international with valuable experience for both club and country,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Tosaint has trained with the team and has fit in well within the group. We are pleased to get this deal finalized and have him available for selection this weekend.”
Ricketts gives TFC depth to go with Sebastian Giovinco, oft-injured Jozy Altidore, draft pick Tsubasa Endoh, and Homegrown prospects Jordan Hamilton and Mo Babouli.