TORONTO – Put that six on the board.
“That's five wins in 15 days. I don't know if that's ever been done before,” said Toronto head coach Greg Vanney. “No one said that the last one was going to be easy.”
And it was anything but: twice TFC pulled in front of Minnesota, only for the visitors to claw back into the match.
Sebastian Giovinco netted Toronto's first from the penalty spot in the first half, but Kevin Molino equalized shortly after halftime. A Christian Ramirez own goal two minutes later put Toronto FC back in front, only for Molino to strike again in the 62nd minute on a rebound.
“It was a little bit [discombobulating],” said goalkeeper Alex Bono of the circumstances. “But it's a real testament to how deep our team is. We have guys going down, who can't continue, and the power we can bring off the bench is outstanding. Those who came off the bench today were game changers.”
Eriq Zavaleta came on for Hernandez, while Hagglund was replaced by Victor Vazquez, but it was the player who replaced Giovinco who proved pivotal in the game-winner come the 77th minute. That player was Jozy Altidore. And he delivered on what was supposed to be his day off after putting in tireless shifts twice already this past week in away games against the Seattle Sounders and Columbus Crew SC.
With Toronto in need of a goal after Minnesota pulled level at 2-2, Altidore tore down the left-side of the area, fighting past two defenders to hang an inviting ball up in the middle for Tosaint Ricketts to nod home.
“It was an incredible effort from Jozy to keep things alive, keep the ball moving forward, to get to the endline and hang up a cross,” said Vanney. “Tosaint, in that instance, kept the game in front of him, which gave him a chance to rise above everybody else and head it in. When he does that there aren't many people who can jump as high as he can.”
Added Ricketts: “[Altidore's presence] is massive. His strength draws a lot of players in. That opens up space for me to get in front of net and get those type of goals.”
For his part, Ricketts, who scored three goals in the last two matches, all coming in the final 15 minutes of the games, is “feeling good”.
“Happy to get the goal, get that six over there,” said Ricketts, pointing to the pre-match reminder on the whiteboard in the locker room. “Six wins in a row. Make history. I've never had six wins in a row in my career. There's still a lot of work to do, but we're having fun right now.”