Two first-half goals by Jozy Altidore were enough for Toronto FC to defeat visiting Real Salt Lake 3-1 at BMO Field in Toronto on Friday.
Toronto (1-2-0) avoided being the first defending MLS Cup champion to lose its first three matches. D.C. United in 2000 also started with two defeats.
“It was a good performance,” Altidore said postmatch. “It was good to get three points and get the league started.”
Salt Lake (1-2-1) pulled to within 2-1 in the 82nd minute when Corey Baird, a rookie from Stanford, got his first MLS goal after receiving the ball from Jefferson Savarino.
Tosaint Ricketts, who entered in the 78th minute for Altidore, made it 3-1 in the second minute of stoppage time.
Altidore scored in the 23rd and 45th minutes for a 2-0 lead in the eventful first half that saw Toronto unsuccessful on one of two penalty kicks.
Sebastian Giovinco was denied by Nick Rimando in the 15th after Salt Lake defender Damir Kreilach was called for a handball when he went for a tackle on Altidore. Giovinco attempted to drill his shot inside the lower left post, but Rimando made a diving stop.
Justen Glad, in the 22nd minute, was guilty of fouling Altidore at the top of the penalty area, and this time Altidore stepped in to score Toronto’s first goal of the season. He added a second from a pass by Ashtone Morgan just before the break.
Altidore has 55 goals in 115 MLS matches.
Toronto plays the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal Tuesday at home vs. Club America (Mexico), but coach Greg Vanney went with most of his regular attacking players while backup goalkeeper Clint Irwin started for Alex Bono.
RSL hosts Vancouver on April 7. The next MLS match for Toronto is April 14 at Colorado.
—Field Level Media