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Jozy Altidore makes big splash with Toronto FC

Jozy Altidore makes big splash with Toronto FC

Posted by Juan Gavasa on March 09, 2015

Jozy Altidore scored twice in his debut Saturday as Toronto FC downed the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 in the Major League Soccer opener for both clubs.

Robbie Findley also scored for Toronto, while Octavio Rivero replied for Vancouver.

Toronto was fortunate to get out of the first half tied 1-1, but the visitors were much better after the break and grabbed the lead in the 59th minute when Findley — who was also playing his first game with his new club — scored from in close off a cross after some great work down the left flank by Justin Morrow and Benoit Cheyrou.

Vancouver, which wasted a number of golden opportunities in the opening 45 minutes, would rue those missed chances as the game wore on and never really threatened to equalize before Altidore scored on a late penalty after being dragged down by Pa-Modou Kah.

The afternoon started brightly for the Whitecaps as Rivero, Vancouver's prized off-season acquisition, opened the scoring in the 19th minute after taking a pass over the top and beating Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik between the legs to send the crowd at B.C. Place Stadium into a frenzy.

Vancouver could have easily been up 3-0, however, Rivero blew a golden chance in front in the eighth minute before Kekuta Manneh saw his effort stopped by Bendik in the 13th.

Altidore then levelled the score in the 32nd minute after some great work by Sebastian Gionvinco. The Italian playmaker — who had a great chance of his own earlier in the half — grabbed the ball in midfield before sliding a great pass through to Altidore, and the U.S. international made now mistake in beating David Ousted from a tight angle.

Toronto settled down after tying the score, but Vancouver still ran wild at the visitors' leaky defence, with Manneh and Pedro Morales forcing saves out of Bendik.

The game marked the first test for a Toronto FC roster that underwent another massive overhaul in the off-season. The club has never made the playoffs in its eight years in MLS, and 2014 was especially hard to take after the high-profile additions of English striker Jermain Defoe, Brazilian forward Gilberto and American midfielder Michael Bradley.

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