MONTREAL — Jozy Altidore scored in the 89th minute and Toronto FC snapped a two-game losing skid with a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night.
Toronto (6-2-3) fired 10 shots on target, with seven coming from Altidore, including the game-winner.
Victor Wanyama scored his first Major League Soccer goal for the Impact (4-4-1), who could not hold on in the dying minutes.
A 1-1 draw between the rivals seemed imminent late in the game when a poor free kick by Rudy Camacho went straight to Nick DeLeon. The TFC midfielder lobbed a ball to Altidore, who silenced the small crowd with a shot between Clement Diop’s legs, rippling the back of the net.
The victory means Toronto are in the driver’s seat for a chance to advance in the Canadian Championship. Greg Vanney’s men finished 4-2-0 (12 points) in the round-robin portion of the tournament.
Wednesday was the last scheduled game for TFC, who now have to wait and watch while the Vancouver Whitecaps host Montreal at BC Place on Sept. 13 and 16 to determine which team advances in the tournament. The Impact’s only hope is to win both games by a large enough margin to beat Toronto in goals.
TFC’s victory Wednesday means Vancouver can no longer move on to the finals.
The winner of the round robin will face the winner of the Canadian Premier League’s Island Games in the Canadian Championship final, with a chance to hoist the Voyageurs Cup and a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League on the line.
Prior to kickoff Wednesday, all players kneeled during the Canadian national anthem and during a moment of silence to show solidarity with anti-racism movements. Toronto defender Justin Morrow, head of the group Black Players for Change, raised his fist.
An exciting and fast-paced first half saw Montreal move the ball very well through the midfield and nearly take the lead on three separate chances by Saphir Taider in the opening half hour.
But it was Richie Laryea, back in Vanney’s starting 11 after missing three games with an ankle injury, who orchestrated the game’s first goal in the 32nd minute.
It all started against the run of play with a clearance from goalkeeper Quentin Westberg to Laryea in his own half. The speedy midfielder darted across midfield, picked up speed and blew past a helpless Luis Binks down the left flank. He then sent the ball across the six-yard area to an unmarked Pablo Piatti, who scored easily.
Though a couple hundred fans watched from the stands, supporters outside Montreal’s Saputo Stadium provided the ambience by lighting flares and setting off firecrackers.
They were rewarded in the 53rd minute when Wanyama — all alone in the box due to poor marking by TFC — headed home a Romell Quioto free kick, which was first deflected by Binks in the box.
The goal was initially not given for an offside on Binks, but a video review overturned the referee’s decision on the field. Toronto has conceded a set-piece goal in three consecutive games.
Quioto thought he scored twice in the game — in the 35th and 79th minutes — but was called offside both times.
NOTES: Chris Mavinga (ankle) returned to Toronto’s the starting lineup. Captain Michael Bradley (knee) did not play. … It was the fourth meeting between Montreal and Toronto this season. TFC have won three times.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2020.
Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press