Riqui Puig opened his MLS goalscoring tally with an 89th-minute shot as the Los Angeles Galaxy drew 2-2 with Toronto FC on Wednesday’s return of former TFC coach Greg Vanney to BMO Field.
Federico Bernardeschi had tried to give Toronto a comeback win with his 81st-minute penalty. Former Toronto player Raheem Edwards conceded the penalty, knocking Bernardeschi down when the Italy winger sliced into the box. Bernardeschi took advantage and scored his sixth goal in eight league games for Toronto.
But Puig, a former Barcelona product making his second start for the Galaxy, hammered a shot past goalkeeper Alex Bono to secure a lone point for the visitors. A goal by Galaxy in seven minutes of added time was ruled offside
Jesus Jimenez ended an 11-game scoring drought in the 62nd minute, even bringing Toronto after Douglas Costa’s 24th-minute strike for Los Angeles.
There was a lot of emotion that evening in front of 29,130 spectators, as it should be for two teams fighting for the playoff position.
CLOCK | Toronto FC concede late goal, settle for a draw with LA Galaxy:
Costa opened the scoring for LA with an elegant free-kick, rolling the ball over Toronto’s four-man wall and out of reach of a diving Bono for the third time this season. Defender Chris Mavinga gave up the free-kick and bundled it over Galaxy captain Javier Hernandez.
Costa, who has played for Brazil’s Gremio, Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk, Germany’s Bayern Munich and Italy’s Juventus, opened his MLS goalscoring tally with a free-kick from almost the same spot against Seattle in March. The Brazilian is the second Galaxy player to score multiple direct free-kick goals in a single season, after Romain Alessandrini, who did so in 2017.
Toronto equalized in the 62nd minute, a minute after a triple substitution from coach Bob Bradley. Captain Michael Bradley found Ifunanyachi Achara in the Galaxy box and fed his substitute Jimenez who found space between three defenders in front of goal.
It was the Spanish striker’s ninth goal of the season and his first since June 29.
Toronto (9-13-7) came into play midweek 10th in the tightly packed Eastern Conference, three spots and three points from the playoffs. TFC have five regular-season games left, all against rivals from the East who begin Saturday with CF Montreal’s visit.
Toronto had recorded three shutouts in their last seven games after not conceding in their 27 previous league games (5-15-7).
CF Montreal’s unbeaten streak ends at 8
CF Montreal’s eight-game winning streak ended on Wednesday night after a 1-0 defeat by the New York Red Bulls at the Stade Saputo.
Lewis Morgan scored the only goal of the game just before halftime for New York (13-8-8).
At eight games, Montreal’s (15-9-4) unbeaten run had equaled a club record set earlier this year.
The game was a contest between the top two road teams in MLS and it showed that the Red Bulls didn’t shy away and pressed on from the start.
CLOCK | CF Montreal’s unbeaten run was ended by New York Red Bulls:
This led to an unusually nervous home start for Montreal, with plenty of missed balls and giveaways.
Neither team did much attacking work in the first half. It was 43 minutes before the Red Bulls had their first opportunity and they didn’t make a mistake.
The Red Bulls made no secret of their intentions in the second half and had no fewer than eight players behind the ball in defence. It took 30 minutes of pressure before the home side found their first chance of the game.
With an inch-perfect cross from Romell Quioto after it went wide, Mason Toye put the goal wide and had an opportunity to put the ball into a wide-open net.
New York looked relatively relaxed for the remainder of the game, with Montreal’s attack looking toothless in the latter stages of the game.
Montreal now travels to Toronto for the third Canadian Classique of the season on September 4th, while the Red Bulls return home on September 3rd as hosts of the Philadelphia Union.