• Wednesday Nov 22, 2017

    Toronto FC aims for goals as Giovinco, Altidore return

    Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco (#10) celebrate after scoring against the host New England Revolution in a MLS game on April 9, 2016, in Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA. (Photo: Tim Bouwer/isiphotos.com)

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Despite playing without its two leading scorers, Toronto FC managed to register a 0-0 draw at Columbus Crew SC in the 2017 Major League Soccer Eastern Conference final, first leg on Tuesday night.

    Suspensions kept forwards Sebastian Giovinco (16 regular-season goals) and Jozy Altidore (15 regular-season goals) on the sidelines at MAPRE Stadium.

    “One of the team’s stated goals was to walk away from here with something," said Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley, who didn’t attempt a shot in 90 minutes of play. "Whether it was a win, a tie, some away goals, we needed to leave here with the opportunity to finish things off at [home] next week. We did that.

    “Nobody is celebrating anything tonight in here, that’s for sure. We handled things in a good way, in a solid professional way.”

    Toronto FC, which will compete in the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, earned the MLS regular-season title and struck for a league-best 74 goals in 34 games.

    “We really grinded it out today," goalkeeper Alexander Bono remarked. "That’s what you have to do in the playoffs sometimes."

    In the second leg at BMO Field on November 29, Toronto FC – shutout in its last two outings -- will have Giovinco and Altidore back in the lineup.

    “We’re an entirely different team with them on the field,” finished head coach Greg Vanney. “Our ability to connect off the front line, our ability to have more play makers, goalscorers, difference makers…they add something entirely different.”

    Toronto FC has appeared in a MLS Cup final once, falling last year on penalty kicks, 5-4, to the Seattle Sounders, following a scoreless stalemate.

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