Pablo Piatti scored his first two MLS goals and Toronto FC returned to MLS action with an impressive display in a 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Tuesday night at BMO Field.
Nick DeLeon also scored for the hosts, who are now unbeaten in their first six league matches dating way back to Feb. 29th. Jonathan Osorio provided the assists for both of Piatti's goals. Jozy Altidore also contributed an assist in his first regular season start since March 7th, and Alejandro Pozuelo assisted DeLeon's goal to make it 3-0 in the second half.
Story of the match
After a competitive start from both teams, it was Piatti who stole the show just before the half hour mark. Picking up the ball around 35 yards out, he smashed an effort into the top corner of Thomas Hasal's net, scoring his first MLS goal- and what an impressive way to get off the mark. Toronto looked comfortable as the score stayed 1-0 at half time to the home side.
The second half saw Toronto start off in the ascendancy yet again, but it took until the 55th minute to score their second goal. Piatti grabbed his second after good work from Jozy Altidore and then by Jonathan Osario to provide his second assist of the match. Osario almost got on the scoresheet himself not long after, but his effort struck the frame of the goal and went out to safety.
Alejandro Pozuelo had a shot saved by Hasal as Toronto continued to push forward to add to their total. Ali Adnan powered through for the Whitecaps to shoot from distance, but the ball whistled over the bar. It wasn't until 83 minutes that FC got their third goal that they deserved from their performance. Pozuelo's lovely backheeled assist put in DeLeon who curled a superb effort past Hasal to put the result beyond doubt and ensure Toronto took the three points.
Takeaways from the match
Vancouver welcomed three players back who sat out the MLS is Back Tournament. Striker Lucas Cavallini returned, Andy Rose also started and Tosaint Ricketts came on as a substitute. The performance, however, didn't suggest a squad that had been reinforced following their remarkable run in MLS is Back, where they reached the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Toronto continued a 16-match league unbeaten run dating back to last season in a dominant display that saw 24 shots attempted - with eight on target - compared to Vancouver's four shots with only one on target.
Stand out players
Look no further than Pablo Piatti. Osorio was impressive as well as Pozuelo, but no-one can eclipse the 31-year-old Argentine Designated Player's performance after ending his lengthy wait for a goal in a Toronto shirt since he signed in early February. Piatti hadn't scored a match in competitive action since Jan. 17, 2019 for Espanyol in Copa del Rey. He has now ended his drought after 579 days without a goal.
Toronto FC: 16.Quentin Westberg; 96. Auro, 44. Omar González, 23. Chris Mavinga, 22. Richie Laryea (2. Justin Morrow 72’); 7. Pablo Piatti (31. Tsubasa Endoh 84’), 4. Michael Bradley ©, 8. Marco Delgado (18. Nick DeLeon 73’), 21. Jonathan Osorio; 10. Alejandro Pozuelo (27. Liam Fraser 84’); 17. Jozy Altidore (13. Patrick Mullins 57‘).
Substitutes (not used): 25. Alex Bono, 9. Erickson Gallardo, 14. Noble Okello, 26. Laurent Ciman.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: 51. Thomas Hasal; 28. Jake Nerwinski, 4. Ranko Veselinović, 15. Andy Rose, 53. Ali Adnan; 11. Cristian Dájome (7. David Milinkovic 60‘), 17. Leonard Owusu, 31. Russell Teibert © (32. Patrick Metcalfe 81’), 3. Cristián Gutiérrez (14. Theo Bair 60’); 9. Lucas Cavallini (87. Tosaint Ricketts 81’), 29. Yordy Reyna (27. Ryan Raposo 67’).
Substitutes (not used): 1. Bryan Meredith, 13. Derek Cornelius, 20. Jasser Khmiri, 22. Érik Godoy.