Vazquez, Altidore lead TFC past Whitecaps
Toronto claims 1st victory of the season
Victor Vazquez and Jozy Altidore scored in the second half after Vancouver was reduced to 10 men as Toronto FC beat the Whitecaps 2-0 on Saturday afternoon.
A scrappy game was turned on its head in the 70th minute when Vancouver midfielder Brek Shea was shown a yellow card for a foul on Toronto defender Nick Hagglund before saying something to referee Ismail Elfath to immediately earn a second booking and a sending off.
Vazquez, who signed with Toronto last month and entered the match six minute earlier, made the hosts pay in the 76th when he nodded his first goal for his new club off a headed feed from Altidore past Spencer Richey. The initial ball was played in by fellow substitute Raheem Edwards.
Altidore then put things to bed in the 80th after taking a pass from Jonathan Osorio and turning past Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston before burying his second goal of 2017.
Playing its third consecutive road game to start the year, Toronto (1-0-2) opened its Major League Soccer schedule with a scoreless tie against Real Salt Lake before a 2-2 draw with the Philadelphia Union last weekend.
Vancouver (0-2-1) lost 3-2 at the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday after playing the Union to a 0-0 draw at home in its opener at B.C. Place Stadium.
Both teams were missing key pieces for their only league meeting of the year, with Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted suspended and star Toronto striker Sebastian Giovinco out with a charley horse.
Canadian international Tosaint Ricketts slotted into Giovinco's spot, while Richey made his first-ever MLS appearance in place of Ousted.
Alex Bono started in goal for Toronto in place of Clint Irwin, who played the first two games.
Whitecaps striker Fredy Montero had an opportunity in the 60th minute after the ball fell to him in the Toronto penalty area, but Drew Moor blocked the effort.
Vancouver got the game's first shot on target a minute later when Russell Teibert tested Bono from distance that the Toronto 'keeper easily handled.
The second half had more flow than the opening 45 minutes, and Justin Morrow forced Richey into his first MLS save on a shot from 20 yards out in the 66th before Shea's sending off four minutes later.
Tempers started to flare near the end of the match, with Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley shown a yellow in the 87th after the teams came together near the centre circle.
The first half was a scrappy affair that included 13 fouls and just three shots — two off target and one blocked, all by Toronto.
Hagglund flashed a header wide of the Vancouver goal in the 18th minute off a Bradley free kick.
The visitors almost caught the Whitecaps napping in the 26th when Morrow snuck behind the backline on a quickly taken free kick before getting closed down by Waston. Hagglund got a head to the ensuing corner, but it again missed the target.
Vancouver's best chance came in the 32nd when Montero pressured Bono and blocked his clearance only to see the ball dribble wide of the post.
Montero had another opportunity six minutes later, but was unable to connect at the near post on an attempted backheel off a one-time cross from Sheanon Williams.
Vancouver picked up a 4-3 win at BMO Field in 2016 league play, but was left heartbroken last June after Toronto scored in the fifth minute of extra time to snatch the Canadian Championship from the Whitecaps' grasp on the away goals rule at B.C. Place.
After a busy start to the season that included Tuesday's 2-0 loss in Mexico to Tigres UANL in the CONCACAF Champions League, the Whitecaps will welcome the rest that comes with next weekend's international window. Vancouver returns to action at B.C. Place against the L.A. Galaxy on April 1.
Toronto, meanwhile, opens its home schedule on March 31.