Toronto FC received two goals from midfielder Terry Dunfield in a 3-0 CONCACAF Champions League group stage win away to CD Aguila on Wednesday night.
With centre back Darren O’Dea sidelined after he picked up a slight knock against LA Galaxy on Saturday night and Torsten Frings out for the season, Dunfield took on the captain’s arm band for Toronto and put in a hard-nosed, workmanlike performance that netted him a brace.
“It’s fantastic,” a joyous Dunfield said of leading the team out at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador.
“Most importantly it was great to get the monkey off our back and get that win."
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Video: Dunfield's first of the night | His second goal
It was Toronto’s first win since beating Aguila 5-1 at home on August 1. The Reds have been mired in a 10-game MLS slump (three draws, seven losses), with injuries ravaging just about every top player on the squad and admittedly mind-boggling errors causing the club to throw away points late in games. Due to fielding a relatively shorthanded, inexperienced side, head coach Paul Mariner has been relying on a small band of veterans for leadership each game during this difficult stretch, Dunfield among them.
“I thought his passing was fantastic, I thought his game management was incredible,” Mariner said of Dunfield’s performance.
The midfielder had the most touches of any player on either team, along with the highest number of passes completed. The double took Dunfield to three goals in as many days. The Canada international scored Toronto’s first goal in the 4-2 loss to LA Galaxy over the weekend.
Although the man of the night for Toronto, Dunfield preferred to heap praise on teammates saying, “I thought the boys were fantastic at times tonight, it was really great.”
The club had been eliminated from MLS Cup Playoffs for some time and with a new CCL format, must win Group 1 to advance to the quarterfinals. That path became Herculean when last minute goals saw the Reds drop a 3-1 decision to powerful Santos Laguna at BMO Field on August 28. That means Toronto must beat Santos by more than two goals to advance when the teams meet in Torreon on October 24.
“We've given ourselves albeit, an outside chance going into Mexico against Santos Laguna,” Dunfield noted.