Zlatan wonder goal not enough as Toronto FC digs deep for huge win over Galaxy

The brilliance of Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasn’t enough as Toronto FC kept its faint playoff hopes alive with a 5-3 home win on Saturday night despite blowing a 3-0 lead.

Ibrahimovic, the legendary Swedish forward, scored the 500th goal of his illustrious career, a spinning sidekick of a strike to cut into a 3-0 first-half Toronto advantage and his Los Angeles Galaxy fought all the way back to pull even later on, before Jonathan Osorio salvaged the victory for the Reds in the 75th minute.

Toronto, 0-13-1 when conceding first got off to a dream start, with Victor Vazquez heading a cross from Gregory van der Wiel past David Bingham in the fifth minute. That coupled with a couple of saves by goalie Alex Bono, back in net after two games off to recalibrate, led to a 2-0 advantage off of one of the prettiest goals TFC has managed in 2018.

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The Reds made seven passes in succession before Altidore fired home a hard shot in the 16th minute.

Los Angeles nearly got one back, but Ola Kamara headed the ball off of the post two minutes after Altidore’s goal and Ibrahimovic was denied again by Bono from right in front. Bono made another save, before the Reds made it 3-0, with Sebastian Giovinco netting his 11th of the season in the 36th minute.

Because Altidore got tied up with a Galaxy defender, taking both men out of the play, Giovinco actually ended up passing the ball to himself to lead to the goal.

Ibrahimovic kept his side in the game with a wonder goal that really has to be seen to be believed.
The big Swede appeared to have eyes in the back of his head, spinning to side kick a chipped pass from Jonathan dos Santos past Bono. The crowd stood and roared in appreciation of the first-class finish, something hometown man Osorio didn’t really appreciate, though it wasn’t because he doesn’t respect Ibrahimovic.

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“The crowd gave him an ovation, it was a great goal, don’t get me wrong, a little bit quick (to cheer a visiting player),” Osorio said with a wry smile.

“It’s like they wanted him to score. I didn’t like that, but he did what great players do of course, amazing goal.”

“Instinct. Those things you don’t plan, it’s impossible to plan,” Ibrahimovic said of what he was thinking on the play.

“The way it came, I just tried to get it on goal. I’m just happy for the Toronto fans that they got to see something that they haven’t seen before.
“They want to show they are loyal to their team, but deep inside I know they are my fans,” Ibrahimovic said of the support.

Head coach Greg Vanney was unhappy with the way his side defended the setup man, dos Santos, but also gave Ibrahimovic his due.

“Him side volleying it from his neck, roundhouse, you can’t really defend that,” Vanney said.
Bono agreed, saying he’d never surrendered a goal like that one.

Still, as spectacular as the strike was, it was but a sidebar in a thrilling, all-out offensive display (expected, as both of these clubs have been amongst the most porous in MLS).
The opening half was an absolute shootout, with Toronto managing 10 shots, five of them on target, and Los Angeles six, four on target.

TFC could have folded after poor marking led to the 3-2 goal from Kamara in the 54th minute, but the team came right back and nearly made it 4-2.

Jozy Altidore turned in some fancy footwork to find himself all alone after some good work from Nick Hagglund only to fire a sure goal wide. Altidore crumpled to the grass, holding his head in disbelief after the near miss, similar to how Giovinco had reacted to a miss of his own earlier in the evening.

Of course, because this is how things have gone for Toronto all season, Los Angeles immediately tied the game up. Poor marking was once again the culprit, with Toronto’s defenders conceding far too much space and getting punished for it. Rolf Feltscher finished with a header to tie the game in the 58th minute, his first MLS goal.

Vanney was pleased that his team didn’t simply fold from there.

“We’ve talked about being resilient and bouncing back when things don’t go the way we wanted them to,” he said. “I’m proud of the response.”

Indeed. TFC dug deep and Osorio, likely the club’s top player in all competitions this year, with apologies to Giovinco, headed in a Marky Delgado cross for his 10th of the MLS season and Jay Chapman later added a very late insurance goal after Ibrahimovic and Bradley had been chirping at each other a bit.

Bradley didn’t care to discuss what was said.

“I’m not worried about perfect, I’m not worried about Zlatan, I’m worried about three points, so we’ll take our three points today,” said Toronto’s captain.
Ibrahimovic was ready with a quip.

“He thinks he’s the philosopher of football. I have more goals than he has games. He should follow my rules,” he said.

While the win kept Toronto’s faint hopes of making the playoffs alive, Montreal’s easy road triumph over Philadelphia prevented the Reds from gaining any ground.

Los Angeles is now winless in seven games and fading out of the playoff picture in the West. This was its first game since Dominic Kinnear replaced Sigi Schmid.

TFC is back in action at BMO Field for the inaugural Campeones Cup against the Mexican League champion Tigres on Wednesday, before taking on the New York Red Bulls in Newark next Saturday in another massive tilt.

MOOR A LATE SCRATCH

Toronto FC got a bad break before Saturday’s crucial game against the Los Angeles Galaxy even got going.

Defender Drew Moor was a late scratch due to a hamstring issue, leaving the club without its organizer and most experienced man at the back against a club that came in ranked near the top of the league in scoring, led by imposing forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

It was the last thing head coach Greg Vanney and his charges needed. Moor, a key member of last year’s outstanding squad which rarely conceded more than one goal each match, has only been able to play seven times in 2018 due to the quad tear he suffered in training in Mexico back in April.

Moor’s absence forced Vanney to play midfielder Michael Bradley in the centre of the defence, something he has done at times throughout the year when the likes of Moor, Chris Mavinga, or Auro Jr. have been unavailable. It was smart coaching, since Eriq Zavaleta and Nick Hagglund have struggled mightily when paired together. It also allowed Gregory van der Wiel, who often plays right back, to push up the field further, which led to the opening goal, which van der Wiel crossed in for Victor Vazquez.

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies