Two late goals by Alejandro Pozuelo gave Toronto FC a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Fire in MLS play Saturday in Toronto, snapping TFC’s six-game winless streak.
Pozuelo had missed the last three games with a lower body injury but returned with a bang in an entertaining end-to-end contest before 25,906 at BMO Field.
The winner came in the 78th minute with the Chicago defence stalled as Jayden Nelson fed Pozuelo, who curled a ball off the crossbar into the goal from the edge of the penalty box for his fourth of the season.
Chicago defender Miguel Navarro had bodied Pozuelo to the ground on the edge of the box and the review showed Pozuelo had a foot in the area. Pozuelo slotted home the spot kick in the 71st minute.
Toronto (4-7-3) had gone 0-5-1 in its previous six league outings although it posted a 2-1 road win over HFX Wanderers in Canadian Championship quarter-final play Tuesday. Its last league victory was April 16, a 2-1 decision over the visiting Philadelphia Union.
WATCH | Pozuelo rallies TFC to victory:
Chicago (2-7-5) is now winless in 10 (0-7-3), enduring its third double-digit winless run in a single season (both previous slides came in 2011 with 11 straight from April-June and 10 straight from June-August).
TFC is unbeaten in 14 matches (11-0-3) against the Fire dating back to September 2015. It marks the longest unbeaten run against a single opponent in Toronto’s MLS history, equalling the league regular-season record (a mark achieved four times).
Chicago’s early lead
Chicago started brightly with Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri pulling the strings in attack.
Luca Petrasso and Jesus Jimenez set up the play with Jimenez drawing the attention of the defence before slotting the ball over to the 19-year-old Kerr for his second of the season.
Toronto hasn’t held MLS opposition scoreless in a club-record 22 straight matches. Its last shutout was a 0-0 draw at Colorado on Sept. 25, 2021.
The initial word on Osorio was “lower body discomfort.” The 29-year-old midfielder, who was making his first start since April 30 due to a lower body injury, is slated to join Canada in Vancouver next week for CONCACAF Nations League games against Curacao and Honduras.
Lukas MacNaughton came on in place of Shane O’Neill to open the second half.
Chicago tied it up in the second half. Shaqiri looped a cross back into the box and the six-foot-two Teran outjumped the six-foot Carlos Salcedo to head the ball home.
The visitors kept up the pressure as the second half wore on. And Chicago went ahead after Shaqiri sent in a cross that Gaston Gimenez headed back to Przybylko to knock home.
Westberg made his first MLS start in the Toronto goal this season, ending Alex Bono’s run of 13 league starts in 2022. Westberg, who started Tuesday in the Canadian Championship game in Halifax, showed off his pinpoint distribution throughout Saturday’s game.
Coach Bob Bradley had hinted at keeping Westberg in goal, saying in the buildup to the game he had always planned on giving the other ‘keeper a run at some point. He made five changes to the Halifax lineup, with designated players Pozuelo and Salcedo returning to the starting 11.
The teams now head into the international break. TFC has a game looming, however, with the rescheduled 2020 Canadian Championship final against Forge FC on June 4 in Hamilton.