Toronto FC concedes stoppage-time heartbreaker in loss to Nashville
10-man CF Montreal draws D.C. United; Whitecaps sunk by last-gasp Galaxy winner
Substitute Luke Haakenson scored two late goals, the first strikes of his MLS career, to lift Nashville SC to a wild 3-2 win over Toronto FC on Wednesday night.
Toronto was ripped apart on a rapid-fire counter-attack and Haakenson beat goalkeeper Quentin Westberg for the 92nd-minute winner.
Toronto had looked to be in the driving seat after substitute Patrick Mullins scored in the 81st minute, heading home a Michael Bradley corner for a 2-1 lead. Mullins, who entered the game two minutes earlier, ran to the near post and flicked his header home through traffic.
But Nashville, which had fired crosses into the Toronto penalty box all evening, replied with C.J. Sapong beating the Toronto defence to a well-flighted cross and sending it across to Haakenson, who beat Mark Delgado to the ball and slipped it past Westberg in the 83rd minute for a 2-2 tie.
Jonathan Osorio also scored for Toronto with Jack Maher, also opening his MLS account, replying for Nashville.
It was a wide-open entertaining contest with chances at both ends. Westberg had a busy night and deserved better.
Toronto (1-6-2) has now lost four straight and is winless in five. But for much of the night it showed off its better side against a well-drilled Nashville outfit. And Westberg, after a difficult season debut in a 3-2 loss to Orlando on the weekend, was back to his best.
WATCH | Nashville SC scores late winner to slump Toronto FC:
But the defence cracked again.
Nashville (3-1-5) was coming off a 2-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls that snapped the club's seven-game unbeaten start (2-0-5) to the season.
Toronto went ahead in the 26th minute when Delgado, with help from a Richie Laryea dummy run that occupied fullback Daniel Lovitz, found Auro racing up the right wing. With Lovitz out of position, the speedy Brazilian fullback raced into the penalty box and sent in a low cross that found a lunging Osorio at the far post for his third goal of the season.
Osorio has now scored 46 goals in all competitions for Toronto against a club-record 23 different opponents. Delgado, meanwhile, celebrated his 200th appearance for TFC in all competitions — fourth most among club ranks.
Nashville came close to tying it off a corner in the 40th minute. Westberg saved Sapong's header, pushing it off the post and Anibal Godoy, under pressure from Delgado, fired the rebound wide.
It was Westberg to the rescue again in first-half stoppage time, stopping a Hany Mukhtar header from point-blank range.
Nashville pulled even in the 62nd minute off a corner when Maher, in just his fourth MLS game, poked the ball home through traffic. It was the first MLS goal for the 21-year-old centre back, who had been recalled from loan with San Diego Loyal of the USL Championship.
Maher, the second overall pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, started in place of star defender Walker Zimmerman in the heart of the Nashville defence.
Nashville came close to going ahead in the 65th minute when Lovitz's free kick from outside the box hit the crossbar, thanks to a touch from Westberg. The Toronto 'keeper stopped Mukhtar again in the 71st minute, making himself big to deny the German after he was put in alone.
Wednesday's game marked the first-ever regular-season meeting between the two clubs. They had met in the post-season Nov. 24 with Nashville ending Toronto's season with a 1-0 win thanks to Daniel Rios' goal in the 108th minute in a first-round matchup in East Hartford.
Toronto coach Chris Armas made one change to the starting 11 beaten by Orlando on Saturday with Eriq Zavaleta replacing Omar Gonzalez at centre back. Westberg remained in goal after replacing Alex Bono last time out.
Toronto was without two of its three designated players with Venezuelan winger Yeferson Soteldo nursing a thigh injury and U.S, international striker Jozy Altidore still on the outs with the club, training on his own while talks are held on his future.
Alejandro Pozuelo, TFC's third DP, was replaced by Noble Okello at halftime.
Nashville DP Jhonder Cadiz is away on international duty with Venezuela. Rios (groin) and fellow forward Dominique Badji (ankle) were out injured.
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Nashville came into the game fifth in the league on defence, averaging 1.00 goals a game. Toronto, in contrast, ranked 26th at 1.88 goals a game.
Willis and defenders Zimmerman, Lovitz, Dave Romney and Canadian Alistair Johnston had started in 14 of the last 15 Nashville matches, including the playoffs, with seven clean sheets and a 6-2-6 record. Zimmerman, who had returned from U.S. international duty with a slight injury, did not dress.
The game was the first of five straight at home for Nashville, with matches against CF Montreal, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago to follow at Nissan Stadium. Nashville had not played at home since May 23 when it edged Austin FC 1-0 before a crowd of 22,421.
Toronto, which has not played at BMO Field since Sept. 1, 2020, due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, takes on FC Cincinnati in Orlando on Saturday.
CF Montreal hangs on for draw against D.C. United
Clement Diop had five saves for his third shutout of the season and 10-man Montreal held on for a scoreless draw with D.C United on Wednesday night.
Montreal (3-3-3) went down a man when defender Zorhan Bassong was sent off in the 45th minute, receiving his second yellow card for a hand ball near midfield that halted a D.C. counter.
Bill Hamid had one save to earn his third shutout in as many starts this season for United (4-5-1).
WATCH | Diop saves a point for CF Montreal with stellar performance:
Whitecaps fall to Galaxy in stoppage time
Efrain Alvarez scored in stoppage time to give the LA Galaxy a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night.
Alvarez connected in the 93rd minute, scoring his second MLS goal just a minute after the Whitecaps' Janio Bikel found the far post to tie it with his first MLS goal.
The Galaxy (6-3-0) have won four of their last six. Vancouver (2-6-1) has lost five straight.
Chicarito opened the scoring for the Galaxy in the 47th minute. He's tied for the league lead with eight goals.
Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond came up with a late diving save off a headed attempt by Caio Alexandre seconds before time expired.
WATCH | Whitecaps sunk by Galaxy's stoppage-time winner:
With files from The Associated Press