Toronto FC 3, Portland Timbers 2 | MLS Match Recap
TORONTO – A game that started in disastrous fashion turned into a dramatic spectacle and finish as Toronto FC came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against the Portland Timbers at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon.
A pair of goals from Nick Hagglund and a winner from Michael Bradley gave Toronto the come-from-behind win in a game that put the Reds, for the time being, above the red line and started off with a scare for the Timbers, in the form of an injury pause.
Mark Bloom collided with Will Johnson in a 50-50 lunging challenge just 11 seconds into the game. Johnson immediately motioned to the bench asking to be subbed off and was stretchered away with a broken right leg. Timbers head coach Caleb Porter put Ben Zemanski on in his place.
Spurred by the loss of their captain, Portland immediately ramped up the high pressure, which paid off in the 13th minute after a bad giveaway from Hagglund allowed Fanendo Adi to break towards goal. The big Nigerian forward had no trouble burying the shot one-on-one with Joe Bendik, giving Portland a 1-0 lead.
Three minutes later, Portland struck again. This time, a corner kick wasn’t cleared by Toronto’s backline. As the wave of red defenders fell on its back feet, Diego Valeri recovered a bouncing ball and pushed into the open space in the box. His shot hit off the foot of Steven Caldwell and rebounding into the back of the net, giving Portland a second goal in the first half.
Toronto FC looked to have pulled one back from a Caldwell header off a Bradley free kick, but the goal was correctly called as offside. Gilberto and Adi both had chances at goal, but neither could connect with the back of the net in the first 45 minutes of play.
It all changed in the second half, with Hagglund earning some redemption. In the 62nd minute, Toronto FC won a corner kick. Daniel Lovitz’s initial cross fell back to him; his second one into the box connected with Hagglund, who buried home a header to pull Toronto back within one, his first goal in Major League Soccer.
Fast forward to the 70th minute. Bradley took another free kick and the ball fell, once again, to Hagglund, who headed home his second career goal to give Toronto the equalizer.
As the game wound down, Toronto and Portland continued exchanging punches, both sides cracking shots at goal in an attempt to find a winner. In the 89th minute, though, Bradley swung in a free kick from well into midfield and rather than Hagglund getting his head on it, the ball bounced through a crowd and in, giving Toronto FC the late winner and all three points.
Toronto FC next travel to Los Angeles to take on the LA Galaxy on October 4. Meanwhile, the Timbers head to San Jose to take on the Earthquakes on the same day.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Michael Bradley||Toronto FC did it on guts...and free kick service. Bradley provided both. Who else?|
|2||Nick Hagglund||It was ugly early, but Hagglund made up for it late. His first two goals in MLS were massive for TFC.|
|3||Diego Valeri||Yellow card means the No. 8 won't be around vs. San Jose. That's a massive blow.|