Toronto FC hosted Orlando City on Friday in a vital early-season clash. Here are three things we learned as the MLS Cup champions stayed alive with a 2-1 victory.
Toronto FC needed to win when they welcomed Orlando City north of the border on Friday night. Their season was spiralling out of control before it ever truly got underway and before they fell too far off the postseason pace, Greg Vanney’s side needed the three points.
Good news, then, that they got just that, securing a tense 2-1 win over the Lions thanks to a late Ryan Telfer winner. That sees them rise up the Eastern Conference standings, at least temporarily, and begin to re-establish themselves among the MLS Cup favourites.
Here are three things we learned.
3. Ryan Telfer arrives
It was the 87th minute. The Reds were staring at more points dropped after they allowed a sloppy Orlando equaliser in which they failed to clear their lines on a number of occasions. And then Ryan Telfer stepped up. The local boy becoming the local hero.
As the crossfield ball floated over the penalty area and dropped perfectly onto the lashed volley of Telfer, there was only one place that it was ending, in the back of the Orlando net. Indeed it did, much to the relief of the Toronto faithful, who were in a tense mood throughout the 90 minutes. They understood the importance of this fixture. And this goal.
Telfer did more than just score the winning goal, however. Fielded largely on the left flank, the attacker gave Will Johnson a real rough time of it, utilising his pace to make piercing runs in behind the Orlando defence, as well as looking to pick the ball up in deeper areas and then drive past him. It was an excellent performance from Telfer. The Toronto boy has arrived.