Tosaint Ricketts

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Shield favorites Toronto FC find a new way to rout in LA (video)

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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.

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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.

MLS Snapshot: Columbus Crew 1-2 Toronto FC (video)

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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.

[ MORE: Playoff Picture — 6 teams can clinch playoff berth this weekend ]

Three four moments that mattered

28′ — Higuain converts from the spot — The Argentine shows some serious class with this panenka from the penalty spot.

38′ — Steffen closes the door on Jozy — “Not so fast Jozy,” Zack Steffen (probably)…

81′ — Ricketts rescues a point for TFC — Talk about efficiency. One header and one goal for the first-half substitute.

90′ — But wait… there’s more from Tosaint — No Giovinco, no problem for the visitors. Gotta say it’s pretty poor defending from the Crew though to close the match.

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Men of the match: Tosaint Ricketts

Goalscorers: Federico Higuain — PK (28′), Tosaint Ricketts (81′, 90′)

Canada begins post-Floro era with 4-0 win in Africa

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Canada got off the mat after its disappointing end to World Cup qualifying with a 4-0 win over Mauritania on Thursday in Marrakesh.

The Canucks are in Morocco for a pair of matches, including Tuesday’s match against the hosts. They are the first under interim coach Michael Findlay.

Mauritania is ranked 96th in the world, seven spots higher than Canada.

[ WATCH: Lodeiro scores off Suarez feed ]

Toronto FC’s Tosaint Ricketts had two goals in the win, while Marcus Haber (unattached) and Steven Vitoria (Lechia Gdańsk) also scored.

Burnley’s Scott Arfield and Cardiff City’s Junior Hoilett set up goals for Canada, while Simon Thomas (Bodo/Glimt) stopped a penalty in his fifth cap.

You can watch the full match below via YouTube. Mauritania kicks off around the 54-minute mark.

MLS Snapshot: Toronto FC 1-0 Real Salt Lake (video)

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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.

[ MORE: Bedoya completes move to Philadelphia Union ]

Three moments that mattered 

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.

89′ — Altidore fires just wide of the near post — Altidore had TFC’s best chance to make it 2-0, but the USMNT man fired inches wide of Rimando’s right-hand post.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Tosaint Ricketts

Goalscorers: Ricketts (68′)

Toronto FC adds striker depth with Canadian international Ricketts

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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.

[ MORE: Premier League launches Premier League 2 ]

Ricketts has 50 caps and 12 goals for the national team, and last played for Turkish second division side Boluspor.

From TorontoFC.ca:

“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.