Will Johnson scores in 200th MLS game to earn Toronto FC a 1-1 tie with NYCFC - InfoNews

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Will Johnson scores in 200th MLS game to earn Toronto FC a 1-1 tie with NYCFC

May 18, 2016 - 6:09 PM

TORONTO - Will Johnson's goal late in the first half lifted Toronto FC to a 1-1 tie with New York City FC in MLS play Wednesday night.

The tie extended New York's current unbeaten run to a club-record five games while improving NYCFC's career record against Toronto to 3-0-2. New York (4-3-5) had won its last three, tying another club mark.

Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Poku scored for New York City FC, which got a good game from goalkeeper Josh Saunders.

Johnson's goal — his second goal of the season and 27th of his career — came in his 200th MLS game.

Toronto star Sebastian Giovinco was involved in the buildup but did not get an assist, ending his streak of being involved in consecutive TFC goals at a league-record 13 (scoring eight and assisting on the other five). While held off the scoresheet, Giovinco was once again full value with an array of delightful touches, probing runs and dangerous shots.

In the 75th minute, he drew oohs with a cheeky pirouette to break away from a defender before firing a shot that was parried by Saunders.

After a slow start, Toronto (4-4-3) got stronger as the game wore on before a BMO Field sellout of 30,262. And Babouli, a 23-year-old homegrown player in for the injured Jozy Altidore, grew more influential.

With three games in a week — and the Toronto contest sandwiched between trips to Portland and the New York Red Bulls — New York City had Andrea Pirlo and David Villa start on the bench as manager Patrick Vieira made seven changes to his starting 11.

Villa, who scored six goals in his three previous games against Toronto, came on in the 74th minute.

Frank Lampard, the other NYCFC designated player, was not in the matchday squad as he continues to work his way back from a calf strain.

The lineups did not live up to MLS or MLSE advertising, which had hyped the Giovinco versus Pirlo and Villa storylines. On the plus side, the home team was giving away 10,000 Giovinco T-shirts.

Toronto was without injured Altidore (hamstring) and midfielders Jonathan Osorio (ankle), Benoit Cheyrou (quad) and Marky Delgado (hamstring). Forward Jordan Hamilton is away with the Canadian under-23 squad. Josh Williams, Jay Chapman and Babouli came into the starting 11.

Toronto came close in the eighth minute when a long ball from Williams found Giovinco behind the New York defence, only to have a diving Saunders deny the onrushing Italian. Chapman's header was high off the ensuing corner.

The visitors had their first chance in the 13th when a through ball found Patrick Mullins behind the Toronto defence. His shot went just wide, however.

Poku put New York City FC ahead in the 16th minute, chasing down a header from Mullins and curling a beautiful shot past Clint Irwin into the far corner for his first of the season.

An acrobatic Irwin tipped a dripping long-range effort from Mix Diskerud over the bar in the 31st minute.

Babouli began to make his presence felt as the first half wore on and set up Toronto's tying goal in the 42nd minute when his cross found Williams alone at the post as the New York defence was caught ball-watching. A lunging William poked the ball past Saunders, allowing Johnson a simple tap-in.

Toronto almost made it 2-1 in first-half injury time but Saunders got a hand to swerving Giovinco's free kick.

Johnson had a chance to make it 2-1 early in the second half when a Giovinco cross landed at his feet in space but he scuffed the shot.

Toronto was coming off a poor showing in a 4-3 loss Saturday to visiting Vancouver.

The TFC bench offered no offence with goalkeeper Alex Bono, defenders Mark Bloom, Nick Hagglund, Damien Perquis and Eriq Zavaleta and defender-midfielders Dan Lovitz and Ashtone Morgan.

Irwin made his 100th MLS appearance.

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News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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