TORONTO (ABC4 Sports) – After a week off for the international break, Real Salt Lake came back and helped Toronto FC end its season-long slump.
Jozy Altidore scored twice as the defending MLS Cup champs earned its first victory of the season, beating RSL, 3-1.
“I know what the problem is, that’s all you’re going to get,” head coach Mike Petke said. “I know what the problem is and it’s going to be fixed one way or another.”
“They’re a really good team and the PK’s put us behind the 8 ball,” captain Kyle Beckerman said. “Playing catch up the rest of the game pretty much. Credit to them, they’re a good team and we know it was going to be difficult for us and it was.”
Toronto FC took the field looking to avoid becoming the first team in league history to start the season with three consecutive losses after winning the title.
And the hosts showed intent from the outset, dictating the play in the opening 15 minutes with Altidore being stuffed on the doorstep by Nick Rimando on 12 minutes after Sebastian Giovinco had played him into the area.
Toronto then had a chance from the penalty spot minutes later after Damir Kreilach was questionably whistled for handball on an Altidore cross only for Giovinco’s spot kick to be kept out by a diving Rimando.
Altidore then drew another penalty in the 22nd minute when his run into the box forced Justen Glad to bring him down from behind and the U.S. international calmly dispatched his attempt from 12 yards to register Toronto’s first league goal of the season.
Toronto’s second goal came with Giovinco pulling the strings right before half-time, the Italian sliced the RSL defense open with a perfect through ball to Ashtone Morgan, who laid it off for Altidore to double his team’s lead.
RSL came out of the locker room at halftime looking to claw back a pair of goals and nearly found a first when Joao Plata forced a Clint Irwin save just after 50 minutes. Jefferson Savarino then wrong-footed Irwin with a deflected shot from outside the area in the 65th minute, but the strike rolled just wide of the far post.
And the visitors finally found the back of the net in the 82nd minute when Toronto gave the ball away deep in its own territory, allowing Demar Phillips to curl home a nice shot to beat Irwin and halve the deficit.
However, substitute Tosaint Ricketts secured the three points in second-half stoppage time, pouncing on the rebound from a Ager Aketxe shot that came back off the crossbar and smashing it into the back of the net to make it 3-1.
Real Salt Lake (1-2-1) next hosts Vancouver April 7th.