Saturday April 8, 2017--Toronto FC vs Atlanta United (by Rocket Robin)

.......................... ...............

Toronto FC (all red, black sleeves, white names and numbers)

.................25 Alex Bono
........15 Eriq Zavaleta...3 Drew Moor...23 Chris Mavinga
33 Steven Beitashour...7 Victor Vazquez...4 Michael Bradley (cpt)...31 Armando Cooper...2 Justin Morrow
...........10 Sebastian Giovinco...17 Jozy Altidore

Subs:...40 Mark Pais (gk)...6 Nick Hagglund (def)...14 Jay Chapman (mid)...18 Marky Delgado (mid)
...21 Jonathan Osorio (mid)...44 Raheem Edwards (fwd)...87 Tosaint Ricketts (fwd)
team officials:...head coach Greg Vanney

Atlanta United (gray socks and shirts, white shorts, red names and numbers)

..................25 Alec Kann
2 Tyrone Mears...3 Michael Parkhurst (cpt)...5 Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez...4 Greg Garza
14 Carlos Carmona...10 Miguel Almiron...18 Jeff Larentowicz (mid)...24 Julian Gressel
.............15 Hector Villalba...11 Yamil Asad

Subs:...32 Kyle Reynish (gk)...9 Kenwyne Jones (fwd)...13 Harrison Heath (mid)...16 Chris McCann (mid)
...21 Mark Bloom (def)...26 Anton Walkes (def)...30 Andrew Carleton (mid)
team officials:...head coach Gerardo Martino

Game officials:...referee David Gantar...referee's assistants Philippe Briere and Jason White
...fourth official Geoff Gamble...(yellow shirts, black shorts and socks)

1st starts 7:38pm...TFC defends south end on this cool evening with the
setting sun below the stands.
55 sec...AU defender clears ball away from box before TFC Altidore can get ball at 10 yards.
2 min...AU Almiron splits defender at 30 yards but is pushed wide right and can't win Penalty
kick when TFC Cooper pushes him over on right side of box.
4 min...TFC Giovinco takes ball at 50 yards and runs down middle. He dribbles to 22 yards then
rolls pass to right for TFC Vazquez who sends low cross from 18 yards on right that's stopped
by AU Parkhurst. Vazquez recovers and chips cross from 15 yards on far right. TFC Altidore
heads ball from 12 yards on left back across box and flying goalie palms ball at 3 yards further
to right and Giovinco boots 12 yarder midair shot over net.
7 min...TFC Beitashour cross from 22 yards on right is long and through box unplayed.
7 min...AU Almiron rolls pass forward from 50 yards up middle to charging AU Gressel who pushes
ball too far forward from 25 yards and charging goalie picks up ball at 10 yards.
8 min...TFC Altidore cross from 25 yards on right has AU Parkhurst clear away from 12 yards
in middle of box.
9 min...AU YELLOW card...Larentowicz earns it for knocking over TFC Altidore on edge
of AU box.
10 min...TFC Giovinco bends 20 yard freekick from right that bounces wide left of post.
12 min...AU Asad cornerkick from left is short and AU Almiron and his cross is popped
up by AU Gressel at 15 yards on right. TFC Moor heads ball forward from 10 yards in middle
and TFC Cooper ends up clearing ball with bicycle kick near edge of box.
14 min...AU Carmona quick freekick from AU 25 yard line is long and upfield to charging
AU Villalba who runs to 15 yards on right side of box and guarded by TFC Mavinga rolls ball
back to AU Almiron who turns at 18 yards in middle but rolls ball to goalie.
14 min...AU Hector Villalba GOAL...AU Miguel Almiron receives chipped pass at 60 yard
line and runs up middle in center circle and runs upfield down middle and sends long low
pass forward to charging Villalba at 25 yards who'd ran by TFC Chris Mavinga. Villalba
shoots 15 yarder from slight right that goalie Alex Bono waves at 4 yards but ball flies
by him into left side of net.

16 min...AU Villalba pushes TFC Mavinga shadowing ball over TFC end line and then Villalba
feigns back injury.
17 min...AU YELLOW card...Villalba earns it for faking injury in last minute.
19 min...TFC Sebastian Giovinco GOAL...Victor Vazquez chips cross from 30 yards on left
over to TFC Jozy Altidore in middle on edge of box and he backheels ball to charging
Giovinco at 10 yards who bends 8 yard shot from left into right side of net past goalie
Alec Kann at 5 yards.

20 min...TFC Giovinco wins cornerkick on left with 17 yard shot from left that's partially
blocked by defender.
21 min...TFC Vazquez cornerkick from left has TFC Moor leap at 12 yards on right but not
able to control header and it pops out of box.
23 min...TFC Cooper on run down middle from 50 yards sends low pass to TFC Giovinco
at 35 yards on left and he runs in around defender and shoots 15 yarder that goalie sprawls
and parries ball from 6 yards. TFC Vazquez who trips over ball at 18 yards so can't make
rebound shot.
25 min...AU Villalba at 15 yard receives backheel pass forward but TFC Zavaleta taps
backpass from 10 yards so goalie can punt ball away.
27 min...TFC Giovinco bends 25 yard shot from left that has AU Gonzalez-Pirez sky ball
at 10 yards and play is whistled down for Giovinco pushing over AU Parkhurst.
28 min...TFC Altidore gets around defender at 35 yards on right to receive pass and 22 yard
shot from right is caught at 6 yards near right post by goalie.
29 min...TFC Bradley chips 30 yarder and charging goalie catches ball on bounce at 12 yards
beating TFC Giovinco to it.
32 min...TFC Altidore at 30 yards is given pass by TFC Giovinco but AU Gonzalex-Pirez
shields him and another defender clears ball at 15 yards.
34 min...TFC Vazquez intercepts ball at 30 yards on right and rolls pass to TFC Giovinco
who can't get around AU Gonzalez-Pirez until he clears it at 15 yards on right side
of box.
35 min...TFC Giovinco receives pass up middle on edge of box and he can't cut around
AU Gonzalez-Pirez and chips 12 yard shot from left that goalie swats ball from 4 yards
on left post over net.
36 min...TFC Vazquez cornerkick from left has TFC Moor jump and head ball wide right
from 7 yards on right.
39 min...TFC Altidore taps back pass from 15 yard in middle to TFC Giovinco who shoots
from 20 yards low and wide left of goal.
41 min...TFC Vazquez with ball on left side of box can't get away shot with three
defenders blocking him as he works his way to center and he passes right to
TFC Giovinco who chips in cross from 20 yards on right and Vazquez bicycle kick from
6 yards on left is into ground and flagged offside.
42 min...TFC Giovinco with ball on right at 25 yards rolls pass that TFC Beitashour
dummies and TFC Altidore shoots 15 yarder down middle over net.
43 min...TFC Beitashour cross from 20 yards on right has defender at 8 yards near right post head ball away.
43 min...TFC Justin Morrow GOAL...TFC Victor Vazquez at 20 yards just inside right
side of box taps pass forward to TFC Steven Beitashour who from 18 yards along right
end line sends in low cross that Morrow at 4 yards holding off defender boots in shot
to center of net with goalie guarding right post.

46 min...TFC Vazquez 30 yard freekick chip from left has two defenders squeeze in on
charging TFC Giovinco at 12 yards on left to prevent him getting away shot but
conceding cornerkick.
46 min...TFC TFC Giovinco cornerkick from left has defender on short side head
ball away.
46 min...half ends 8:24pm.

Halftime Entertainment: There's the Nestle Drumstick ice cream giveaway and Tony
from Pizza Pizza with the slice giveaway for one lucky row. It looks like the whole stadium
will a free slice of pizza tomorrow if TFC wins the game and wins the game. So far
so good. A mini game is held in the center circle of 3 on 3 bubble soccer.

2nd Half:...starts 8:42pm. It's now dark.
45 min...TFC Giovinco on left rolls centering pass and TFC Altidore has 20 yard
shot is blocked.
46 min...AU Hector Villalba GOAL...AU Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez pokes ball away
from TFC Jozy Altidore on throw-in to AU box and dribbles out to 25 yards
on right and chips long pass to charging Villalba who'd ran pass TFC Chris Mavinga.
Villalba gets to ball on bounce at 25 yards down middle holding off Mavinga's grab and
rolls 16 yarder through legs of goalie at 8 yards and into center of net.

47 min...AU Almiron on run down left shoots 15 yarder that goalie sprawls to save
at 4 yards on left post and crawls forward to smother rebound as AU Villalba tumbles
over him at 7 yards.
47 min...AU Villalba is checked off ball before he can get shot from 18 yards on right
by retreating TFC Bradley. TFC Mavinga is injured upfield at TFC 45 yard line.
50 min...TFC sub...Hagglund replaces Mavinga.
52 min...TFC Beitashour run down right and cross from near cornerflag deflect off AU Garza
shadowing him and AU Gonzalez-Pirez pops header across box from right edge of 6 yard box.
TFC Cooper charges forward and blasts 22 yarder up middle that hits defender's foot
at 8 yards and wins cornerkick.
52 min...TFC Vazquez cornerkick from right has TFC Altidore flick header from 10 yards
on right and AU Mears gets foot to pop up ball at 6 yards on left and he pushes forward
and pops up header at 8 yards back for goalie to palm over net.
52 min...TFC Giovinco cornerkick from left has goalie punch away in crowd of players
on edge of 6 yard box ball and TFC Cooper stops clearance at 20 yards up middle but
is checked off ball before he can get a shot.
53 min...TFC Cooper beats sliding defender on left side of box and steps over him to get
12 yard shot near end line that goalie pushes wide left of post.
54 min...TFC Vazquez low cornerkick from left has defender clear from 5 yards near
left post.
54 min...TFC goalie charges out to 25 yards on right to kick away through ball pass
to AU Almiron.
58 min...AU Villalba runs along 22 yard line from right but pass forward has no teammate
run for it.
59 min...TFC Giovinco has 20 yard shot from left blocked.
60 min...TFC Vazquez blasts 22 yard roller from right that partially deflects off
AU Gonzalez-Pirez up middle and diving goalie saves and grabs popped up rebound
at 4 yards.
60 min...AU Almiron rush down left but cross from end line is over box.
64 min...AU goalie beats TFC Beitashour to clear poor backpass by AU Carmona before
Beitashour can get to ball at 7 yards in middle.
65 min...TFC Altidore low 20 yard creen shot up middle is smothered by goalie.
68 min...AU Almiron blasts 25 yarder down middle that goalie flies to push wide left.
69 min...AU Asad short cornerkick has AU Almiron cross into box and AU player in middle
of box pops up header but AU Gressel at 6 yards on left is called for hand ball
on chip-up.
70 min...TFC Vazquez blasts low 30 yard shot through players up middle that
goalie smothers.
72 min...TFC sub...Osorio replaces Vazquez.
73 min...AU RED card...Yamil Asad earns by forearming TFC Eriq Zavaleta
at TFC 50 yard line so he could get by him and stop TFC Steven Beitashour.
It appears referee David Gantar was listening for instructions from upstairs official.
Zavaleta needed the trainer. Assistant coach Jorge Theilor on the Atlanta bench
was then sent off for argueing the call.

77 min...TFC Giovinco is blocked twice trying to put ball into box.
78 min...AU Garza spun off ball by retreating TFC Beitashour and can't win Penalty
call on left side of box.
79 min...TFC YELLOW card...Hagglund earns it for knock down of AU Almiron on his
run down right into TFC end.
80 min...AU Almiron freekick from 25 yards dips onto top of net.
81 min...AU sub...McCann replaces Almiron.
.........TFC sub...Ricketts replaces Mavinga.
83 min...AU sub...Jones replaces Villalba.
83 min...TFC Bradley 33 yard freekick from right has TFC Hagglund in middle leap
and head 12 yarder just over top right corner of bar.
85 min...TFC Bradley 30 yarder shot down middle is headed near edge of box by defender
back for goalie to catch.
85 min...TFC Giovinco chips pass from 25 yards a step too far forward for sliding
TFC Altidore at 5 yards and ball is wide right for goalkick.
86 min...AU McCann run on left eluding two defenders and his cross from 15 yards
along end line is caught by goalie.
88 min...TFC Bradley chips ball from 28 yards on left and AU Parkhurst in middle
just inside box volleys ball away.
88 min...AU Garza cross from 30 yards on far left is just over AU Jones leaping for
ball with TFC Hagglund in middle at 7 yards.
88 min...TFC Cooper cross from 28 yards on right has AU Gonzalez-Pirez in middle
at 6 yards head ball away.
89 min...TFC Osorio has shot blocked on edge of box.
91 min...AU sub...Heath replaces Gressel.
92 min...AU players fritter around with freekick in TFC end until TFC players
finally take ball away.
94 ends 9:31pm.

Final Score:.......Toronto FC.........2...........Atlanta United............2.............

Attendance was announced as 26812.  There was no rain today but it was very cold and windy.  The sun was
just setting below the stands so it didn't prevent me seeing the field.  The night didn't get as cold
as I was expecting (now last night's TFC II game was rough!) and boots may not have been necessary
but I took no chances.      

Man of the Match (who is always a TFC player) was awarded to Armando Cooper.  The video board played some 
of his great plays which lasted less than 15 seconds.  I felt he had a few good dribbling plays but nothing
outstanding.  The TFC players who scored and assisted were obvious choices but each of them had some flubs
and miscues that took away their good plays.  To a neutral watcher, the obvious MOM was AU Hector Villalba
with his two goals but that wouldn't please the local sponsor.  

Atlanta United is one of two expansion teams in the league this year (the other is Minnesota United) and the
one started from 'scratch'--without an existing roster of players.  They have started the season fast
and are a strong playoff contender.  They had scored 11 goals in four games coming into tonight's game.
Josef Martinez had scored three goals in three games but is out of action after being injured while playing
in a World Cup Qualifier for Venezuela.  Former TFC forward Jacob Peterson is also injured.  
The Red card must have been from the upstairs box from the new extra game official.  This is something the MLS
started this year.  It's certainly more fair to the victim than a suspension imposed a week later after 
video review. The crowd got to react when the incident was played back on the video board.

TFC held the lead for only about 3 minutes of actual game time (separated by the halftime break) for not
the first time this season.  

TFC started zero Canadians with four listed on the bench.  They eventually brought in two of them as substitutes.  
I sent out a tweet the next day about this and TFC II starting only three Canadians the night before and 
the comment that I was looking forward to League 1 Ontario starting at the end of the month and received a number
of likes and retweets.  

TFC remain undefeated but they did play a man up from 72 minutes and Atlanta still had a fair chance of scoring
a winning goal.  I was surprised AU didn't bunker from that point on but they got a few chaces.  It was a forward
that was sent off.  They stalled with subs and slow goalkicks and freekicks at the very end.

TFC kept trying to set up the perfect shot but often telegraphed their passes and had shots blocked.  

TFC Victor Vazquez thoughout the game looked like he was afraid to shoot and when he finally did we understood
why the reluctance as he rolled some real softies to the goalie.  

The crowd got restless after going a man up and pleading with the team to shoot. 

Fans were pacified on the walk out of the stadium with news on their cell phones that 
the NHL hockey team and fellow MLSE property Toronto Maple Leafs were holding 
on to a playoff clinching victory with one game to spare.  After finishing laast 
in the NHL last year a playoff appearance is a massive success.  That news should 
pacify the casual TFC fan because the MLS playoffs are a long way off but predictions 
of finishing first will be harder to fulfill as they continue to lose places in the 
standings every tie (1 point vs 3 points to win) they roll up.    

Short term I wondered if the Maple Leafs fans would have cleared Union Station by the
time we got there by streetcar.  Nope!  But we were all able to squeeze onto the
first subway that arrived.  

There were some rememberance moments for a pregame ceremony for the 100th anniversary 
of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.  Old photos were shown on the video board.  A memeber of
the 48th Highlanders dressed in a WW1 uniform delivered the game ball.  This was a pleaant
change from the credit card holder that they usually choose.  I only though they somewhat
ruined it by blasting off fireworks to great cheers.  Well no-one from that battle is still
around to suffer PTSD.  

The PR department shine up that the team is undefeated but their record is 1 win and 4 ties
and that has them barely hanging on to a playoff place and it's not unexpected they will fall
another spot or two after other Eastern Conference teams' results come in.  

Rocket Robin

stats from
Match Information

Goals and Assists
15'  ATL   Héctor Villalba          Assisted By: Miguel Almirón 
20'  TOR   Sebastian Giovinco       Assisted By: Jozy Altidore, Víctor Vázquez 
44'  TOR   Justin Morrow            Assisted By: Steven Beitashour, Víctor Vázquez 
47'  ATL   Héctor Villalba          Assisted By: Leandro González Pirez 

10'  ATL   Jeff Larentowicz       YELLOW   Reason: Unsporting Behavior 
18'  ATL   Héctor Villalba        YELLOW   Reason: Unsporting Behavior 
75'  ATL   Yamil Asad             RED      Reason: Violent Conduct 
80'  TOR   Nick Hagglund          Reason: Unsporting Behavior 


Toronto FC 
17 F Jozy Altidore 
10 F Sebastian Giovinco 
25 G Alexander Bono 
15 D Eriq Zavaleta 
 3 D Drew Moor 
23 D Chris Mavinga      (51')
33 M Steven Beitashour  (82') 
 7 M Víctor Vázquez     (73')
 4 M Michael Bradley 
31 M Armando Cooper 
 2 M Justin Morrow 

40 G Mark Pais 
 6 D Nick Hagglund       (51')
87 M Tosaint Ricketts    (82')
14 M Jay Chapman 
18 M Marco Delgado 
21 M Jonathan Osorio     (73')
44 F Raheem Edwards 

Manager Greg Vanney   

Atlanta United FC 
15 F Héctor Villalba       (84')
25 G Alec Kann 
 2 D Tyrone Mears 
 3 D Michael Parkhurst 
 5 D Leandro González Pirez 
 4 D Greg Garza 
14 M Carlos Carmona 
18 M Jeff Larentowicz 
24 M Julian Gressel         (90'+2')
10 M Miguel Almirón         (82')
11 M Yamil Asad 

32 G Kyle Reynish 
21 D Mark Bloom 
26 D Anton Walkes 
16 M Chris McCann           (82')
13 M Harrison Heath         (90'+2')
 9 F Kenwyne Jones          (84')
30 F Andrew Carleton 

Manager Gerardo Martino 

Referee  David Gantar 
Assistant Referee  Philippe Briere 
Assistant Referee  Jason White 
Fourth Official  Geoff Gamble 
Match Information
MLS at BMO Field
Toronto, ON
Attendance 26812
Weather Sunny 
Team Statistics
TOR                         ATL
 20     Shots                 6    
  9     Shots on Target       5           
  7     Shots off Target      1
  4     Blocked Shots         0
  6     Corners               2 
  0     Missed Chances        1 
 17     Crosses               7    
  1     Offsides              2
 12     Fouls                12   
  1     Yellow Cards          2 
  0     Red Cards             1 
443     Total Passes        406  
 79%    Passing Accuracy     74%      
 52.8%  Possession           47.2%
 41     Duels Won            52 
  6     Tackles Won          22 
  3     Saves                 7 
  6     Clearances           26 

Toronto FC starters

Atlanta United starters

Atlanta United Miguel Almiron (10) takes opening kickoff.

TFC Sebastian Giovinco (10) freekick bends wide left of post.

TFC Michael Bradley (4) pushes pass forward.

TFC Sebastian Giovinco (10) waits to take second half kickoff.

Atlanta United Hector Villalba (15) turns towards TFC goal.

Atlanta United Miguel Almiron (10) runs down middle with TFC Victor Vazquez (7) trying to poke ball away.

Atlanta United Tyrone Mears (2) runs upfield.

Atlanta United Miguel Almiron (10) puts freekick just over bar.

Wall of Honour at north end of BMO Field.

Wall of Honour close enough to read names.

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