Toronto FC beats Revolution on Pride Nights

Toronto FC 2 Revolution 0

Toronto FC showed off its depth and grit Friday night, defeating the New England Revolution 2-0 on a 48-hour turnaround from its last game in Montreal.

Drew Moor scored early and Sebastian Giovinco struck late as league-leading Toronto, with only three starters back from the Montreal game, won its seventh straight at home.

“Just a gutsy performance by a team that goes out and does what they have to do to win games,” said Toronto coach Greg Vanney. “Sometimes it looks beautiful and sometimes it just looks like a grind and everybody does what they have to do on the night.

Toronto (10-2-5), extended its unbeaten run at BMO Field this season (7-0-2). MLS Cup final aside, TFC has not lost at home since Oct. 1, 2016.

New England (5-7-5) has yet to win on the road (0-6-3) this season.

The game drew a loud crowd of 27,261 on Pride Night, which came complete with rainbow corner flags.

There wasn’t much tolerance on the field, however.

The Revs had ended Toronto’s eight-game league undefeated streak with a 3-0 win June 3 at Gillette Stadium, a result that still ranked Toronto players. As a result, there were more than a few flashes of ill-temper, not helped by referee Hilario Grajeda’s mercurial handling of the contest.

Moor’s 11th-minute goal stood as the winner, with Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono preserving the victory with a marvellous save of a Teal Bunbury header in the 88th minute.

Giovinco added an insurance goal deep into stoppage time, bringing down a high ball from Victor Vazquez before beating defender Benjamin Angoua and banging a left-footed shot home for his seventh of the season — and 50th in MLS regular-season and playoff action.

Giovinco, who last scored May 13, celebrated like it was his first.

Kickoff came less than 48 hours after the final whistle of Toronto’s 1-1 tie Wednesday in Montreal in the first leg of the Canadian Championship final. The well-rested Revs had been off since a 2-1 loss Saturday to visiting Chicago.

Toronto, midway through a gruelling stretch of six games in 19 days, hosts Montreal on Tuesday in the Canadian Championship return leg.

The 33-year-old Moor typified the Toronto effort, playing all 180 minutes against Montreal and New England.

Asked how he felt, the defender replied: “Tired.”

“It was a battle,” he added. “A lot of people on the outside talk about what great players we have, what great talent we have. But we have a bunch of warriors too, a bunch of beasts who are willing to do a lot for this club and it’s fun to be part of.”

Armando Cooper set up Moor’s goal, beating Je-Vaughn Watson on the right flank.

His cross, with the help of the lightest of Tsubasa Endoh touches, found a lunging Moor at the other side of the goal.

For Moor, who was up for a corner, it was his first goal of the season and 26th of his 14-year MLS career.

New England had its chances but failed to show a cutting edge in front of goal. Still the visitors kept coming, making for a nervy finale.

Only Moor, Jozy Altidore and Chris Mavinga remained from the starting lineup in Montreal with Bono, Giovinco, Vazquez and Justin Morrow among those coming in. Giovinco, Morrow and Vazquez all saw action off the bench Wednesday.

Benoit Cheyrou captained the team in the absence of the suspended Michael Bradley (yellow card accumulation).

“Three good points, with a clean sheet, against a very good team,” said the Frenchman.

It was an open end-to-end game with both team stroking the ball around. But Toronto had the better chances early with Vazquez and Cheyrou pulling the strings from midfield.

There were several meaty challenges in the first half but only Giovinco was cautioned for a kick from behind that landed in Gershon Koffie’s nether-regions rather than the ball.

Neither side seemed happy with Grajeda’s rulings in a chippy second half.

Nguyen headed out a Giovinco free kick off the line in the 59th minute, running back at the last second to take up his position in the corner of the goal. Then Nguyen, the pick of the New England players on the night, curled a shot just wide at the other end in the 74th minute.

The Revolution had lost just once in the previous 10 meetings (6-1-3) between the teams — a 4-1 TFC win last Aug. 6 at BMO Field. That victory ended an eight-game Revolution undefeated streak (5-0-3) in the series, dating back to 2013.

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