2017 Year In Review: July


With the first match of the month, Toronto FC entered the second half of the season, playing their 18th match on July 1, Canada Day, away to FC Dallas.

It was not to be a happy Canada 150, as TFC fell 3-1; Marky Delgado's tap-in proving mere consolation. Oyvind Alseth made his debut in the defeat, though it would turn out to be the last TFC loss for quite some time.

A quick trip to Florida was to have a much better outcome, resulting in a 3-1 win at Orlando City SC on July 5. Jozy Altidore scored the first before unselfishly laying off to Sebastian Giovinco for the second. Orlando would pull one back, but Giovinco struck again to seal the result with an unstoppable free-kick, a growing trend.

As numerous players departed ahead of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Toronto added to the squad, signing Nicolas Hasler on July 13. A day later the club's leadership was solidified as both Greg Vanney and Tim Bezbatchenko signed contract extensions; Proud Papa's committing to TFC for the foreseeable future.

Up next was a critical test: an away day at New York City FC on July 19 that cast the mind both forward and back.

The date brought to mind the 7-0 dismantling in the previous Eastern Conference Semifinal series, but the gritty result, overcoming absences and ill-fortune to wrestle a point off a key challenger in the battle for the conference, was a harbinger of things to come: finding a way to do what needed to be done. 

Ashtone Morgan opened the scoring, netting his first MLS goal in just his 99th appearance, but David Villa pulled the hosts level in first half stoppage-time. Toronto looked to have taken the lead through Jay Chapman, but his goal was ruled offside, and Maxi Moralez put NYCFC ahead with a deflected strike minutes later. 

When it would have easier to shutdown and accept defeat, given the circumstances, Toronto had other plans in mind. Cue Jordan Hamilton and Victor Vazquez, who combined to win and score an injury-time penalty kick, sealing a 2-2 draw, drawing a guttural chorus of boos from a New York crowd intent on getting one over on their tormentors of last post-season.

Days later, the high of New York would dwindle as the Colorado Rapids hung on for dear life to salvage a 1-1 draw with a late strike against the run of play, marring Morgan's spectacular week as he joined the Century Club days after his goal. 

Chapman, denied the previous match, would find the back of the net, his first, but despite bossing play Toronto could not kill off the pesky Rapids. A valuable lesson was learned that day.

When NYCFC came to town to close out the month, TFC would have no mercy, taking the lead, adding to it, and not looking back.

Giovinco scored a screamer, Chris Mavinga put in THE tackle, and Giovinco netted another stunning free-kick. Altidore converted from the penalty spot upon a victorious return from the Gold Cup and Raheem Edwards bagged his first MLS goal as well, the third Canadian to accomplish the feat in July.

Upon witnessing Giovinco's brace, Vanney hailed him as the 'best ever' in MLS, the two goals also brought his tally in a little more than two-and-a-half seasons in the league to 50, becoming the first TFC player to reach that milestone. The match also saw Drew Moor play the 350th MLS match of his career.

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