Pozuelo’s Goal Gives TFC Home Advantage in the Playoffs08 de Octubre de 2019 a las 12:08
Photo courtesy of BarnBurner.ca
By Noora Popal
TORONTO. - It was a tough battle at BMO Field Sunday evening, as Toronto FC fought tooth and nail to win the match against Columbus Crew SC to obtain a home playoff advantage.
Knowing how important this game was, and how much was at stake for The Reds, they had to be fierce and not allow Columbus to outshine them. This being the last home game of the regular season meant The Reds had to make the most of it in front of their fans, and they did.
Both teams started with an equal possession of the ball, doing what they could to create opportunities to take the lead. The two seemed to be equally matched as neither of them were able to crack the other and score the first goal of the game.
There were a couple of scares early on for TFC, like in the 26th minute when Omar Gonzales had to block the ball from going in the net with his body. As well as Quentin Westberg’s spectacular performance at defending the goal and stopping some tough shots, like the one from Luis Diaz in the 29th minute of the match.
Columbus was not the only one that had some really good looks in the first half. In the 34th minute, Jozy Altidore had a wide-open shot at the net but missed. And in the 36th minute, both Jozy and Bradley had back to back shots neither of which went in.
Aside from a few yellow cards being handed out, in the 32nd minute to Pedro Santos and the 39th minute to TFC’s captain Michael Bradley, there was no scoring and the half ended in a deadlock.
The second half of the match resembled the first, as the 23,692 people in attendance at BMO Field waited patiently to see some kind of action from the two teams.
In the 57th minute, Jozy Altidore was fouled just outside the penalty box. This led to a free kick which was taken by Alejandro Pozuelo who showed his brilliance as the ball went in the corner of the net and put Toronto ahead of Columbus. With this goal, it makes it Pozuelo’s 12th of the season.
An unfortunate injury forced Jozy to come off the field limping and have Nick DeLeon take his place. Altidore landed awkwardly on his back after rolling over a Columbus defender outside the penalty box. An MRI will be done to see the extent of Jozy’s injury.
As the clock ran out, The Reds knew they had to grip tightly to the small lead they had knowing it could be taken away at any second. They continued to attack Columbus, last big attempt coming from Patrick Mullins who had a fantastic opportunity to make it a 2-0 lead in the 92nd minute. The ball, however, missed the net and bounced off the side of the post instead.
Nonetheless, Pozuelo’s free-kick goal was enough to secure this match for Toronto FC. With this win, along with the results from other games that took place on Sunday, Toronto FC moved ahead of the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United to take fourth place in the East.
The Reds will host D.C. United in the first round of the playoffs at BMO Field, on a date that will be determined soon.