Jermain Defoe’s first half penalty was all Toronto FC needed to secure three points against San Jose Earthquakes.
The England International made sure his team goes into the World Cup break on a high note. With the win, the Canadian club moves up two spots into the playoffs picture in the Eastern Conference. With the loss, San Jose currently occupies the seventh spot in the tightly contested Western Conference.
The first half belonged to Toronto. Kyle Bekker and Collen Warner dominated the middle and Jackson and Jonathan Osorio were always looking to bring their forwards into the game.
There wasn’t a lot of creativity by both sides in the first 45, making the goalkeepers bystanders.
With 15 minutes gone, Toronto had the game’s first shot on goal. A low driven free kick by Jermain Defoe from 23 yards out was coughed up by Jon Busch. The scramble that ensued ended in a San Jose free kick.
Nick Hagglund was the surprising star of the first half. The first year defender came close to breaking the deadlock twice in one minute.
He brilliantly controlled a long pass from Osorio and fired a thumping volley at goal, but a diving Busch parried it away from danger. Few seconds later Hagglund’s acrobatic volley didn’t miss by much.
In the 26th minute, Haggland won a penalty inside the box. The defender was elbowed by Alan Gordon as he tried to rise up to meet a corner kick. Defoe stepped up to the spot and calmly tucked the ball into the back of the net for his seventh goal of the season.
San Jose was more active after conceding the goal, but didn’t test Joe Bendik.
Five minutes before the half-time whistle, Luke Moore wriggled his way into San Jose’s box. His ensuing close range shot wasn’t collected by Busch, but the Earthquakes defense dealt with the rebound.
Almost twenty minutes into the second half, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi attempted to repeat what he did against FC Dallas. The ball popped up perfectly for the former Ligue 1 midfielder, but his long range effort was safely collected by Bendik.
Hagglund continued to be a nuisance inside the Earthquake’s box. The defender lost his maker and rose higher than anyone, but his glancing header was off target.
Stephen Lenhart almost pulled San Jose level in the 75th minute. The powerful forward rose up to meet a fantastic cross, but he headed right into the ‘keeper’s hands.
In the final minutes of the game, J.J Koval wasted a golden opportunity to score an equalizer. The ball fell to the midfielder’s feet inside Toronto’s 18 yard box, but he fired agonizingly wide.
Toronto’s defense was tested in dying minutes but Steven Caldwell and Doneil Henry were solid.
Toronto’s fans will have to wait until June 27 to see their team play a league match. San Jose will be in action next Wednesday against Sacramento Republic FC in the Open Cup. After the break, the Earthquake’s first league game will be the California Clásico on June 28.
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