Pozuelo scores winner as Toronto FC hands league-leading Union 1st loss of season

Alejandro Pozuelo scored early in the second half as Toronto FC downed Philadelphia 2-1 Saturday, handing the league-leading Union their first defeat of the MLS season.

Mihailovic, Quioto lift CF Montreal past Whitecaps for 3rd straight win

Toronto FC midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo, shown against the New York Red Bulls, scored the game-winner in the 51st minute of a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday in Toronto. (Vaughan Ridley/Getty Images)

Alejandro Pozuelo scored early in the second half as Toronto FC downed Philadelphia 2-1 Saturday, handing the league-leading Union their first defeat of the MLS season.

Toronto (3-2-2) won its third in a row at home while extending its unbeaten run to four games (3-0-1). Philadelphia (5-1-1) had won a franchise-record five straight prior to Saturday, including four consecutive clean sheets which matched a club mark set in 2017, and was the only MLS team without a defeat.

It was a chilly evening for the announced crowd of 20,809 at BMO Field with a temperature of four degrees feeling like minus-two. But there was some heat on the pitch with no shortage of niggle as the two teams went at it.

Pozuelo decided the game in the 51st minute with a beautiful goal, taking a pass from Kadin Chung and then dribbling through three defenders before slotting the ball past a diving Andre Blake into the corner. It was the second goal of the season for the Spanish playmaker, named league MVP in 2020.

Philadelphia had its chances later in the game but could not take advantage as TFC bent but didn't break. Toronto suffered through some seven minutes of stoppage time.

Argentine forward Julian Carranza had opened the scoring for Philadelphia in the 34th minute, heading home a cross from Danish international Mikael Uhre with the Toronto defence at sixes and sevens following a rush down the left flank that saw Uhre out-distance defender Shane O'Neill. Toronto has now conceded a goal in a club-record 19 straight home matches.

WATCH l Pozuelo lifts Toronto FC over Philadelphia Union:

Alejandro Pozuelo lifts TFC over Union

4 months ago
Duration 1:22
Alejandro Pozuelo scored in the 51st minute as Toronto FC beat the visiting Philadelphia Union 2-1.

Jesus Jimenez answered for Toronto in the 39th minute, elegantly curling a shot past Blake after Jonathan Osorio dribbled his way into the Union penalty box and played a sweet give-and-go with the Spaniard. Jimenez's fourth goal this season snapped Philadelphia's 457-minute shutout streak, dating back to March 5 when Lassi Lappalainen scored for Montreal in a 2-1 loss March 5 at Olympic Stadium.

It was the longest goalless streak in MLS this season. And just the third goal conceded by Blake, who came into the game with a miserly 0.33 goals-against average. The Union 'keeper's last appearance at BMO Field was in the 4-0 Jamaica loss on March 27 that clinched a World Cup berth for the Canadian men.

Philadelphia appeared to have gone back ahead three minutes later off a corner. Pozuelo headed the ball away but it went straight to Kai Wagner whose volley from well outside the box went through traffic and past Alex Bono. But referee Alex Chilowicz, after going to the pitch-side monitor, waved it off on the grounds that an offside player had obscured the Toronto 'keeper.

Toronto coach Bob Bradley made three changes to the team that tied 2-2 at Real Salt Lake last week with Chris Mavinga, Chung and Jayden Nelson coming in for Carlos Salcedo, suspended after being red-carded, Lukas MacNaughton and Kosi Thompson.

TFC II defenders Themi Antonoglou, 20, and Adam Pearlman, 17, were on the bench after signing short-term loan agreements Friday.

Forward Ayo Akinola, out since injuring his knee last July playing for Canada at the Gold Cup, was also among the substitutes — a first since undergoing surgery in August.

Philadelphia had got goals in the first 12 minutes in each of the last three games and threatened early again Saturday.

Jack Elliott's shot went high off a corner in the fourth minute. Three minutes later, Carranza just missed getting a foot to a low cross in front of goal.

At the other end, Blake had to make a diving save to deny Nelson in the 17th.

No card for Toronto's Nelson

Philadelphia was irate in the 19th minute when Nelson only received a yellow card for a nasty, high challenge on Wagner in the corner.

Nelson showed his skill, if not his targeting, in the 27th minute when he took a pass on the edge of the Philadelphia penalty box, flicked the ball over his head and then pivoted before volleying it over the crossbar.

Blake was called into action soon after the Union went ahead, tipping away a venomous shot from distance from Pozuelo.

Bradley replaced Nelson at halftime, perhaps to protect him from a second yellow card after the first-half incident with Wagner. Osorio, playing in his 299th career game for TFC in all competitions, exited in the 56th minute after taking a knock.

Bono made several acrobatic saves in the second half to deny the Union, sticking out a leg to stop Uhre in one instance. And the Union came close again in a 71st-minute goalmouth scramble.

Philadelphia came to Toronto with a career regular-season record of 147-147-105, looking to move above the .500 level all-time for the first time. The Union entered the league in 2010, three years after Toronto, whose record now stands at 156-202-132.

Philadelphia hosts CF Montreal next Saturday while TFC heads to New York to play NYCFC at Citi Field next Sunday.

CF Montreal downs Whitecaps

Djordje Mihailovic and Romell Quioto both scored as CF Montreal held off the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 on Saturday.

The victory extended Montreal's (3-3-1) win streak to three matches and undefeated streak to four.

Brian White replied for the visiting Whitecaps (1-5-1).

It also served as CF Montreal's second home opener with it their first game of the season at the outdoor Stade Saputo.

WATCH l CF Montreal score early, hold on to defeat Whitecaps:

CF Montréal score early, hold on to defeat Vancouver

4 months ago
Duration 1:10
Strikes in the game's 1st minute as well as early into the 2nd half propelled Montréal to a 2-1 victory over Vancouver. The Whitecaps' equalizer in the 90th minute was called back due to an offside.

Montreal wasted no time, scoring shortly after the opening whistle.

Just after the one-minute mark, a perfectly weighed ball over the defence from Alistair Johnston found Mihailovic, who scored from point-blank range.

For the rest of the half, both teams seemed content with the status quo, trading harmless shots on target and half-chances.

Montreal began the second half the same way they started the first, pinning Vancouver back. That pressure yielded the same result as Mihailovic played Quioto in, who doubled their lead.

It appeared as though Vancouver had pulled one back just past the hour-mark through Lucas Cavallini, but the goal was called back when the Canadian was called offside.

The Whitecaps got their goal only minutes later when White pounced on a loose ball in the box, bringing the score to 2-1.

Vancouver continued to press, looking for an equalizer and forcing mistakes from a visibly tired Montreal defence.

In the 93rd minute, it seemed as though the Whitecaps had snatched a late equalizer through a Tosaint Ricketts header, but the goal was once again reversed due to offside.

Montreal will now head back on the road to face off against Philadelphia Union on Apr. 23 while Vancouver visits Austin at Q2 Stadium.

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