NYCFC went into this game knowing that a victory would see them leapfrog Toronto to the top of the Eastern Conference by virtue of a superior head-to-head record.
The teams had shared a 2-2 tie at Yankee Stadium ten days earlier and the boys in blue had inflicted a defeat on fellow conference pacesetters Chicago last time out but could this run of form continue at a BMO Field where Greg Vanney’s men hadn’t tasted defeat in 11 games?
Andrea Pirlo started his tenth MLS match for NYCFC in place of the suspended Yangel Herrera and the Italian was an influential figure in the early going with some deft touches in the midfield third but Toronto boasted the game’s first two meaningful chances.
Giovinco produced both, first laying the ball across the face of goal just beyond Jozy Altidore, just before pulling the trigger from 25 yards, firing narrowly wide with a shot which had Sean Johnson scrambling across his goal.
Headers from Alex Ring and Maxi Moralez on 20’ and 25’ reminded the home side of the threat posed by their visitors but it was TFC who opened the scoring on 32’.
The dangerous Giovinco was the man who provided it with an unstoppable strike from range, curling the ball into the inner-sidenetting beyond Johnson’s despairing dive, making it 1-0.
Pirlo went close with a free-kick in the closing seconds of the first period but it had been a slightly subdued first 45’ for Patrick Vieira’s men in Canada leaving themselves plenty to do after the break.
NYCFC have proven adept at chasing deficits in recent months and they set about repeating the trick again at BMO Field with Jack Harrison taking it upon himself to drive his team forward in the early minutes of the second half.
The cohesion between midfield and attack that was missing in the first half was there and Villa started getting service, almost levelling with a fierce drive towards the bottom corner on 60’, drawing an excellent save from Alex Bono.
Rookie Jonathan Lewis entered the game shortly after in place of Tommy McNamara but a few minutes later Toronto doubled their advantage through Giovinco who once again produced a moment of real class courtesy of a free-kick that left Johnson with no chance.
Sean Okoli was sent on in place of Pirlo but it was Ethan White who went close to striking back on 73’ when Villa found him with a clever cross across the face of goal but the defender couldn’t turn his strike on target.
A minute later, Toronto were awarded a penalty when the referee decided Callens had dragged down Altidore.
It looked a soft call but the American international made no mistake with the spot-kick, driving his penalty into the top corner to make it 3-0.
With eight minutes to go, Edwards drove a final nail into the away team’s coffin, drilling in a volley when Vieira’s men were caught up the field chasing a goal.
Moralez had the chance to reply from the penalty spot in stoppage-time but missed the target, proving that it just wasn’t NYCFC’s day.