Toronto FC 2, Chicago Fire 2 | 2019 MLS Match Recap
Toronto FC got an early goal from Jozy Altidore, fell behind on momentum-changing goals from CJ Sapong and Nemanja Nikolic, then got a 76th-minute equalizer from Jonathan Osorio to salvage a 2-2 draw against the Chicago Fire at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon.
With more than a 3-to-1 possession advantage in the first half, Toronto seemed poised to take control of the match, and got their opening goal in the 31st minute, when new star-in-the-making Alejandro Pozuelo sent a cross to Altidore, who met it at the far post to head it in.
And yet, the Fire were able to equalize against the run of play in first-half stoppage time. Jeremiah Gutjahr capitalized on a turnover forced by Aleksander Katai, sending a long pass to Sapong; the Fire forward was able to scoop it up and score for his third goal of the season.
Katai was even more directly involved in the Fire's go-ahead 62nd-minute goal, making a run down the left channel and cutting into toward goal. With both Sapong and Nikolic making direct runs, Katai chose to set up Nikolic for his first goal of 2019. TFC answered less than 15 minutes later, with Altidore making a run down the right flank and into the box, where he sent a cross to Osorio, who headed in to get the home team level again. Katai had one more golden opportunity to put his stamp on the match late, but his 87th-minute shot on goal was saved.
- 31' – TOR – Jozy Altidore | WATCH
- 45' + 1' – CHI – CJ Sapong | WATCH
- 62' – CHI – Nemanja Nikolic | WATCH
- 76' – TOR – Jonathan Osorio | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Though TFC couldn't keep its season-starting three-match win streak going, they did keep their unbeaten run. With D.C. United's lackluster 4-0 loss to LAFC, Toronto found themselves themselves tied with D.C. (and Columbus) for the East lead when the final whistle blew for both matches. The Fire can consider a draw against a top East team away, without all their starters available, a decent result — especially considering they were outshot 16-7 and finished with less than 30 percent possession.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The Osorio goal, which had a lot to do with Altidore, showed TFC's resilience — but at the time, it didn't feel as if it would end up as the final goal of the match.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Altidore tallied a goal, added a crucial assist, and his partnership with Pozuelo — are we really going to call them Jozuelo? — has potential to be one of the most productive tandems this season.
Let's just go ahead and call them Jozuelo. #TFCLive— Rudi Schuller (@RudiSchuller) March 30, 2019
- TOR: Saturday, April 13 at Seattle Sounders (4 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+, TSN in Canada)
- CHI: Friday, April 12 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+, TSN 1/3/4 in Canada)