LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – It was a tough look for DC United in the thick Florida heat, but they managed to salvage a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC on Monday in group play of the MLS is Back Tournament.
As with most of the matches thus far in the MLS is Back Tournament, teams kneeled and took a moment of silence in solidarity of the Black Lives Matter movement.
This match has history in the tournament’s infancy. It was initially scheduled to be played on July 10th, but Toronto’s arrival was delayed because of COVID testing. It was then moved to Sunday morning, but was postponed due to COVID test irregularities.
Results for second round of tests could not be completed in time for the game on Sunday. It was later revealed that both players tested negative, however, they were not permitted to play Monday.
Then Jozy Altidore tweeted, “These 9am games are not the way. Way too hot here for all of that”. He didn’t play in this match.
But his squad fought the elements to go up 2-0 over DC United when Ayo Akinola gave Toronto (1-0-2 season, 0-0-1 tournament) the lead with goals in the 12th and 44th minutes. Toronto looked dominant in the match and even registered 66% possession in the match.
In the sixth minute, D.C. midfielder Junior Moreno received a red card. DC had to fight Toronto and the Florida heat a man down.
But as we have seen in these matches, where the temperature climbs and the famous Florida humidity increases, the game goes on, and the energy on the field changes as well.
The strange thing is that most of the scoring thus far in the tournament has been in the second half, and for DC United, though things looked bleak, they woke up and pulled out some energy in the end.
Federico Higuain scored in the 84th minute with a chip that looped over Toronto goalie Quentin Westberg’s head to move them up to a 1-2 deficit .
Frederic Brilliant tied things after he powered a header following a header by Steve Birnbaum from Felipe’s free kick.
Another thrilling finish in the MLS is Back tournament.
Toronto will next play the Montreal Impact on Thursday while D.C. faces the New England Revolution on Friday.