Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By RYAN TOLMICH
Homegrown defender Doneil Henry proved to be the difference Saturday for Toronto FC, as the Brampton, Ontario native’s 92nd minute header earned TFC all three points and the Trillium Cup with a 3-2 victory over the visiting Columbus Crew.
The 21-year-old Canadian international’s extra time game-winner came from a Daniel Lovitz free kick from just outside the box. The last-gasp go-ahead goal sealed the come-behind victory for the hosts just eleven minutes after star striker Jermain Defoe scored his second goal of the game to erase the 2-1 deficit.
The Crew opened the scoring in the 18th minute through Justin Meram, whose curling finish gave the visitors the early lead after a lethargic start that saw both teams struggle to create much offensively. Defoe erased TFC’s deficit just three minutes later by drawing a penalty and converting with a blast to the goal’s lower left side.
The two teams remained deadlocked until the 65th minute when Crew defender Agustin Viana rose above the Toronto defense and smashed home a header to restore the Crew’s one-goal advantage.
TFC found their second equalizer of the night 16 minutes later through Defoe, whose brace now gives him six goals on the season. Substitute Gilberto’s header bounced to the feet of Defoe, who struck the ball past Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark on the volley from just outside the box.
From that point on it was all Toronto, with the hosts swarming while the Crew held on for dear life. Shots from Defoe and De Rosario threatened late, with Defoe earning the free kick that led to the eventual Henry winner.
With the win, Toronto picks up their second win in three games, which moves the Canadian side to fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Crew, meanwhile, see themselves remain on 15 points, which is good for sixth in the conference behind TFC due to goal differential.
TFC will look to build on their current momentum when they host the San Jose Earthquakes next Saturday, while the Crew move onto a midweek contest with Real Salt Lake Wednesday.