Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact provided another entertaining spectacle as TFC claimed 401 Derby supremacy in Orlando.
The 401 Derby never disappoints, and although Thursday night’s iteration was played in a foreign land without fans, Toronto FC’s 4-3 victory over Montreal Impact was no exception.
Here are some takeaways from the match:
1: A tale of two halves
Just like they did against D.C. in their first match in the MLS is Back Tournament, TFC came flying out of the gate. A blazing run and tidy finish from Richie Laryea opened the scoring in the eighth minute, and Ayo Akinola answered Montreal’s 14th minute equalizer with a tap-in set up by Pablo Piatti and Alejandro Pozuelo.
A clumsy challenge from Chris Mavinga then sent Montreal’s Saphir Taïder to the spot, and he made no mistake, leveling the score once more, but Akinola wasn’t through. Seconds later, the 20-year-old, making just his fourth career MLS start, shrugged off his defender and restored TFC’s advantage.
A frantic first half gave way to a tighter second half, as both Montreal and Toronto brought on defensive reinforcements. It seemed as if the Reds had packed up shop and were keen on defending their lead; that is, until goalkeeper Quentin Westberg spied an opening.
In the 83rd minute, Westberg played a surprise long ball up to Nick DeLeon, and he immediately knew to find the man of the hour. DeLeon flicked the ball to Akinola who, after delivering a Marshawn Lynch-esque stiff arm to a hapless Jukka Raitala, put the game on ice for Toronto.
Taïder would bag another penalty late in stoppage time. However, TFC were able to see out the final seconds, claim the three points, and effectively book their ticket to the knockout stage.