Shaffelburg Leads Toronto FC in Comeback Win Over FC Cincinnati
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Jacob Shaffelburg turned in an excellent performance as Toronto FC defeated FC Cincinnati 3-2 to extend their unbeaten streak to 3 matches and move out of last place in the MLS standings.
Toronto FC were looking to move past FC Cincinnati in the MLS Eastern Conference standings after a scoreless draw with Columbus this past weekend. Toronto have not had the best of luck with injuries this season and that continued tonight as once again they had multiple players unable to play due to injury.
Cincinnati were in for a tough test in their own right as it was their first match playing for interim coach Tyrone Marshall after Jaap Staam was relieved of his duties.
Toronto head coach Javier Perez went with a 4-3-3 formation: Alex Bono started in-goal; Richie Laryea, Omar Gonzalez, Kemar Lawrence, and Auro Jr. on the backline; Mark Delgado, Jonathan Osorio, and captain Michael Bradley in the midfield; and Jacob Shaffelburg, Ifunanyachi Achara, and Yeferson Soteldo as the attacking trio up-top.
Cincinnati goal in the 38th minute, a through ball the middle to an open Matarrita, who struck it past Bono to put his team up 1-0. Even though Toronto had not been playing bad at this point, it was a split-second error with the backline losing sight of Matarrita. The momentum was in Cincinnati’s favour as they maintained the lead heading into halftime.
Whatever Perez said to his team at halftime clearly worked; Toronto came into the second half motivated and began ramping up the intensity. Toronto did not waste any time scoring the equalizing goal as Shaffelburg received a pass from Soteldo and struck a perfectly placed shot past Przemyslaw Tyton, to tie the match up 1-1.
Shaffelburg was not done there as the 21-year-old contributed in all areas of the pitch and would cap off a Man of the Match performance by picking up two crucial assists. First, Shaffelburg found Delgado with a low cross that he got a touch on to give Toronto the go-ahead goal. Shortly after, Shaffelburg crossed the ball to Achara, who finished with his left foot and extended Toronto’s lead to 3-1.
The chemistry between the attacking three of Shaffelburg-Soteldo-Achara was developing nicely, which is exciting for TFC fans as it has been something positive that has come out of all the injuries the team has dealt with this season as well as a positive for Perez, who does not have the depth in the striker position with Altidore, Dwyer, and Perruzza all out of the lineup.
Cincinnati would get a goal back when Luciano Acosta narrowly stayed onside and struck the ball past Bono in the 72nd minute, but that was not enough as Toronto would close out the game and win it 3-2.
Toronto will be back in action this Sunday, when they host the Chicago Fire at BMO Field.
Photo Credit: Toronto FC (@TorontoFC)