Toronto FC ready for penalties if needed
TORONTO — With Sebastian Giovinco subbed off in the 103rd minute after feeling sub-par, Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney was looking for penalty-takers.
So when the 2016 MLS Cup final ended knotted at 0-0 after extra time, Vanney turned to veteran defender Drew Moor.
“I remember with about three minutes to go in overtime, I kind of looked around the field and I thought I might be in the top five in the penalties,” said Moor.
“And Greg came up to me and said ‘Hey, are you ready to take a penalty?’ And I said ‘Ask around a little bit.’ And he kind of looked around, walked around for about 30 seconds, didn’t say a word to anybody, came back up to me and said ‘Hey do you want to take a penalty?’ And I said ‘Sure I’ll take one.’
“So if I have to, I’ll plan on stepping up and taking another one.”
Moor made his kick but Toronto lost the shootout to Seattle 5-4. The two teams meet again in the championship game rematch Saturday at BMO Field.
Should it go to penalties, Toronto has another weapon this weekend in Victor Vazquez. The Spanish playmaker went 3-3 on spot kicks during the regular season but was denied by Columbus’ Zack Steffen in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final.
Justin Morrow ’s penalty kick hit the crossbar in last year’s shootout but the high-scoring wingback says he’s up for the challenge again.
“It’s a chance to put things right,” he said.
Morrow has hardly put a foot wrong this season, earning a U.S. team callup as a result. He was a finalist for MLS Defender of the Year and a member of the league’s Best XI.
“After the loss last year, it was devastating but I knew that we were going to have another good year this year,” Morrow said. “I knew that the team was still in intact and that we added some key pieces and got better. So that was very encouraging during the off-season to know that in 2017 we were going to have another strong run at it.”
Toronto ’keeper Alex Bono stopped two of six penalty kicks this year, including the playoffs.
Seattle ’keeper Stefan Frei has given up goals on five of six penalty kicks this season.