Toronto FC ready for penal­ties if needed

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - SPORTS - NEIL DAVID­SON

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.

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