Toronto FC denied by late strike as D.C. United snatch point

WASHINGTON—Teenage substitute Griffin Yow scored in the 88th minute to lift D.C. United to a 2-2 tie with Toronto FC in MLS play Saturday.

Two defenders and goalkeeper Quentin Westberg all went for the same cross, leaving the ball for the 17-year-old Yow to knock in his first MLS goal.

It marked the second straight game that D.C. had struck late to tie Toronto. D.C. conjured up goals in the 84th and 91st minute to tie Toronto 2-2 on July 13 at the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida.

Westberg made a fine reflex save in stoppage time to deny Erik Sorga and preserve the tie before empty stands at Audi Field.

It was 1-1 after a first half that saw Toronto dominate possession despite some shaky moments on defence.

But the visitors turned up the pressure in the second half and an unchallenged Ayo Akinola headed in a cross from Pablo Piatti for his sixth goal of the season — and first since a hat trick July 16 against Montreal at the MLS is Back Tournament.

Alejandro Pozuelo also scored for Toronto. Ola Kamara had D.C. United’s other goal.

The game was the first of an extended road trip for Toronto (6-2-4), which like Montreal and Vancouver faces having to play all of its remaining games in the U.S. because of pandemic-related border restrictions.

D.C. was gifted a goal in the fifth minute after Kamara caught Toronto centre back Omar Gonzalez on the ball in midfield after a Pozuelo back pass that did the big defender few favours. Kamara raced in alone and beat Westberg for D.C.’s first goal in 185 minutes.

Toronto pulled even in the 17th minute when defender Donovan Pines failed to clear a Richie Laryea cross. The ball dropped straight to the feet of Pozuelo, who knocked it in with his right foot for his fourth of the season.

Toronto now heads to its home away from home in East Hartford, Conn., to prepare for New York City FC next Wednesday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Then it’s back to Hartford in advance of a “home” game Sept. 27 against Columbus Crew SC at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, a 38,000-seat venue that is home to the University of Connecticut football team.

While MLS has yet to announce the rest of the regular-season schedule, Toronto expects to play six games in Hartford.

After going down a goal, Toronto had a chance to strike back in the ninth minute but goalkeeper Bill Hamid pushed Pozuelo’s free kick over the bar. Two minutes later, Yamil Asad cracked a shot off the crossbar as the Toronto defence continued to dither.

Mohammed Abu made an important block in first-half stoppage time, denying Pablo Piatti on the edge of the D.C. box. Abu limped off and was replaced at halftime,

Jozy Altidore, who had little service in the first 45 minutes, was replaced by Akinola to start the second half. Akinola put Pozuelo through in the 55th minute but the Spaniard took an extra touch and his shot was blocked.

Laryea was yellow-carded in the 67th minute after his elbow caught Yamil Asad in the face. The incident went to video review but the card stayed yellow.

Hamid stopped Akinola from in-close in the 70th minute.

Eriq Zavaleta and Nick DeLeon came in for Chris Mavinga and Brazil’s Auro, sidelined by an ankle injury, in Toronto’s starting 11. Zavaleta, making his first start in league play since July 20, 2019, moved into the right centre back position, shifting Gonzalez to the left. It marked

Mavinga was said to be dealing with a quad issue but replaced Zavaleta in the 75th minute.



Toronto captain Michael Bradley continues to rehab a knee injury.

Hamid, who had been dealing with a personal issue, returned in the D.C. goal after missing four games. Defender Steven Birnbaum did not dress, joining an injury list that includes Paul Arriola, Russell Canouse, Felipe Martins, Edison Flores and Ulises Segura.

The game was free of the bad blood that marked their meeting at the MLS tournament in Florida.


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