Altidore scores twice, Toronto FC gets 1st MLS win of season
TORONTO (AP) — Jozy Altidore scored twice and Toronto FC got its first win of the season with a 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Friday night.
The fast-paced game marked the first goals of the season for the defending MLS champion Reds (1-2-0).
Altidore ended Toronto’s goal drought after being taken down in the box by Justen Glad and awarded a penalty kick in the 23rd minute. Altidore calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner past goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
His goal came seven minutes after Sebastian Giovinco missed on a penalty kick, firing it straight to an outstretched Rimando — a repeat of last season’s opener when Rimando stopped Giovinco’s penalty kick.
Altidore scored again in the 45th minute, when he one-timed a pass from Ashtone Morgan, sending it into the bottom right corner that Rimando never had time to move for. It was Altidore’s 50th career goal for Toronto.
Corey Baird scored Salt Lake’s lone goal in the 82nd and Tosaint Ricketts had Toronto’s third goal when Ager Aketxe banged a shot off the crossbar, and Ricketts sprinted in for the rebound less than a minute before the final whistle.
In front of a crowd of 28,006 on a chilly night, Toronto avoided becoming the first defending MLS champion in history to open the season with three straight losses. The team had opened the season with losses to Columbus and Montreal, but coach Greg Vanney didn’t push the panic button, saying the regular season can have a topsy-turvy start for many teams.
Real Salt Lake (1-2-1) had a good scoring chance in the 51st minute when Joao Plata sent a shot that Clint Irwin got his gloves on and Demar Phillips launched a shot in the 71st that breezed just wide of the net.
The Reds were coming off a week off for an international break that followed a busy start to their season, thanks to their success in the CONCACAF Champions League. They’re back in action again on Tuesday when they host Mexican powerhouse Club America in the opening leg of their Champions League semifinal series.