Toronto FC 1, Portland Timbers 0 | MLS Match Recap
TORONTO – It was the Sebastian Giovinco show at BMO Field as Toronto FC picked up their first home victory of the season, a 1-0 result painted by a brushstroke from the foot of the Atomic Ant.
A goal scored by Giovinco in the fifth minute proved the difference between the two sides as the Italian forward enjoyed a productive day in tandem with Luke Moore, constantly zipping around the front line and always threatening with an ankle-breaking flick or a ferocious shot on goal.
And It didn’t take Giovinco very long to find the back of the net. He struck with an outside-the-foot strike that curved and dipped perfectly, past the outstretched fingers of Portland goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey, giving Toronto a lead early in the half. After the goal, Giovinco continued to torment the Portland back line, nearly scoring on two occasions, one blocked by his own teammate, Jonathan Osorio.
Moore also had a half-volley chance that threatened. And while Portland did manage to get the ball into the box a couple of times, the Timbers rarely threatened in the first 45 minutes. It didn’t help that playmaker Diego Valeri went down with injury in the 25th minute, and had to be replaced by Gaston Fernandez.
The two teams went into the locker rooms with Toronto holding a slight edge and looking hungry for more, but Portland began to be more effective in attack in the second half.
For their part, Toronto made a change in personnel, with Jackson coming in for Moore to provide more width. But it was Toronto’s other substitute that nearly found the back of the net. Warren Creavalle ran down the left wing at the 80-minute mark and forced a big save out of Kwarasey.
Seconds later, TFC goalkeeper Chris Konopka made an error in judgement coming off his line, bringing down Timbers forward Maximiliano Urruti in the box, but no penalty was called. A few minutes later, Urruti nearly pounced on a rebound from a long-distance drive by Dairon Asprilla.
TFC head coach then Greg Vanney made his final change, putting defender Nick Hagglund in for Osorio in an effort to see out the game with roughly 10 minutes to go. Despite Portland's pressing and creating dangerous opportunities around the box, Toronto held on with a firm defense.
Toronto FC next play host to Premiership outfit Manchester City for a midseason friendly on May 27 at BMO Field before welcoming the San Jose Earthquakes in a league game on Saturday (5 pm ET, TSN4). Meanwhile, Portland take on D.C. United in midweek (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE) before traveling to Colorado on Saturday (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE).