One game in 100 words: Winless in six games before they blanked Chivas USA, 3-0, last weekend, Toronto FC came into this match to recapture the sort of form fans expected of them at the start of the year, as the Reds looked to secure an Eastern Conference playoff spot in the regular season’s remaining weeks. It was Michael Bradley who managed to net the final score to put his team ahead late in the match. Defender Nick Hagglund had himself an exceptional game, notching a brace and serving as the main reason Toronto enjoyed success. Now, Toronto has catapulted themselves from eight place to fifth, tied with the Columbus Crew’s point total at 40 pts. Portland is still hanging strong in the Western Conference in the fifth spot, two points in front of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Toronto: Hagglund 62′, 70′, Bradley 89′
Portland: Fanendo Adi 13′, Steven Caldwell (OG) 16′
Three moments that mattered
89’ — Michael Bradley for the win — Michael Bradley somehow was able to bend his set piece cross past Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, as the former AS Roma man struck the ball aiming to connect with teammates at the far post. But it appeared while the line of players moved forward, Ricketts was screened and could only locate the attempt at the last minute. It was too late.
70’ — Unlikely Hagglund nets brace, ties game at 2 — Few fans expected defender Nick Hagglund to serve as the driving force for a Toronto FC win an vital brace. Nonetheless, the 22-year-old made noise, first burying a well-taken header in the 62nd minute before totaling his second conversion eight minutes later. Bradley’s corner kick skipped across the face of goal, and Hagglund drew his squad level with a headed finish from close-range.
16’ — Misfortune strikes Toronto — The Timbers pressed Toronto on the offensive attack, and luck was on Portland’s side. Diego Valeri hit a low cross into the middle from just outside the near post, and his ball deflected off the foot of Steven Caldwell prior to zipping into the back of the net. Reds goalkeeper Joe Bendik was understandably incapable of making the save, and Toronto, down two goals within 20 minutes, was forced to make a comeback.
Toronto: Joe Bendik; Mark Bloom, Steven Caldwell, Nick Hagglund, Justin Morrow; Dominic Oduro (Andrew Wiedeman 78’), Johnathan Osorio (Kyle Bekker 75’), Michael Bradley, Daniel Lovitz (Dwayne De Rosario 69’); Luke Moore, Gilberto
Portland: Donovan Ricketts; Alvas Powell, Pa Modou Ka, Liam Ridgewell, Jorge Villafana; Will Johnson (Ben Zemanski 7’), Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe, Rodney Wallace (Gaston Fernandez 81’); Fanendo Adi (Maximiliano Urruti 72’)