2017 Year In Review: August

2017 YEAR IN REVIEW: August

The unbeaten run of four matches that stretched most of July carried into August, accelerating as the playoff picture began to take shape. 

Up first was a 1-1 draw away to DC United on August 5, where Nicolas Hasler made his debut for Toronto FC

A week later, on August 12, Toronto got back to winning ways with a 4-1 defeat of the Portland Timbers at BMO Field, a result that kicked off yet another streak. Justin Morrow nabbed a brace on the day, rather emphatically it should be said, while Victor Vazquez and Marky Delgado piled on before Portland pulled back some late consolation.

The impressive outing served to spur on TFC, who committed to always getting better, finding the best version of themselves, as Greg Vanney took to saying, while Sebastian Giovinco provided a glimpse into what fuels him to be the best.

It was at this time that the importance of the much-vaunted depth, both on and off the pitch, really came to the fore, as part of the driving force behind that impetus to get better each and every day.

Back on the road come August 19, Toronto would again serve notice to the rest of the league, strolling into Chicago and handing the Fire a 3-1 defeat on their home patch, ending their long unbeaten run in the Windy City.

It was a match heavy with implication for the Eastern Conference standings. Delgado was in the right place to pounce on a rebound early, putting Toronto in the driver's seat, while Hasler scored his first MLS goal to reinstate the lead after Chicago drew level. Giovinco rounded out the scoring on a quick counter, celebrating the victory in style with the travelling supporters.

That match also saw Steven Beitashour welcomed back to the pitch, a miraculously quick recovery given the severity of the injury he suffered. 

The side returned home for an August 23 encounter with the Philadelphia Union under the midway lights of the CNE, winning 3-0 in another dominant outing.

Giovinco got the festivities going early with a beautifully-unstoppable free-kick, while Hasler made it two from two with an equally lovely header. Jozy Altidore, the handsome beast, added a third to round out the scoring as the possibility of a historic season began to come into view.

And TFC would close out the month on the road, winning 3-1 away to the Montreal Impact on August 27 in the first of three league meetings between the two ancient rivals that would colour the close of the regular season. 

As Michael Bradley foresaw, the final stretch would require a huge effort from the Reds.

The fans at Stade Saputo made the mistake of taunting Giovinco et al with a cheeky emoji-laden tifo.

He responded with another bit of dead-ball majesty, freezing Evan Bush to pick out the top corner in the first half, repaying that opening gesture with another in kind.

Altidore made it two in the second half and just as Ignacio Piatti sought to give hope with a late strike, Giovinco took it away with a stunning volley seconds later, blowing kisses to the travelling fans and sending the home ones away sniffling; ruthlessness personified.

The win marked a new club record for most wins in a season with 16 and Giovinco's free-kick goal, his fifth, tied an MLS single-season record.

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