Toronto FC 3, Whitecaps FC 2
Terry Dunfield scored in the fifth minute stoppage time to give Toronto FC a 3-2 win over Vancouver on Wednesday night after a goalkeeping gaffe by Toronto seemed to give the Whitecaps a gift tie.
At the end of 90 minutes, Milos Kocic tried to punch away a high cross with one hand and missed it, leaving Darren Mattocks a clear header that sent the ball looping into the goal.
But Dunfield, a former Whitecaps player, rose and headed in the winning goal off a corner with just seconds left for a result to redeem Sunday's 3-0 loss to Philadelphia.
''As I've said many times this week, the brain is an unbelievable thing that keeps those legs going as far as football is concerned,'' Toronto coach Paul Mariner said. ''It's all about the state of mind. If you keep telling yourself that you're tired, then you are tired. But if you're willing to drive on, as we did for 90-plus minutes tonight, then anything's possible.
''I asked the players for a response from Philadelphia because that wasn't us and I think that we all got it.''
Past the four minutes of stoppage time added on before Vancouver's tying goal, Toronto won a corner. Dunfield, a former Vancouver player who scored against Toronto in the Whitecaps' MLS debut last season, rose majestically and headed in the winning goal off a Frings corner in the fifth minute of injury time.
''Probably the best feeling in my soccer career. That was incredible,'' Dunfield said. ''It's been a long, tough season for us at the bottom there but the guys showed a lot of character to come back twice today.''
Until then, it seemed as if goals by Torsten Frings and rookie Luis Silva three minutes apart in the second half would give Toronto FC a 2-1 win.
Frings' go-ahead goal came in the 72nd minute. Goalkeeper Joe Cannon hit the turf after punching away an Eric Avila cross. The ball came to Frings and the former German international hammered home a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box.
Silva, who was influential all game, made it 1-1 in the 69th minute with his first MLS goal, sticking out a foot to deflect in Ashtone Morgan's cross.
Vancouver defender Lee Young-Pyo had a glorious chance to tie the game in the 85th minute but his shot rattled the right post.
Vancouver (8-5-6) had opened the scoring in the 50th minute after midfielder Barry Robson carved open the Toronto defense with a through ball to Mattocks, who seemed to have butchered the chance when his scuffed shot was stopped by Kocic as a nearby defender went flying.
But the ball bounced back to the rookie striker and Mattocks moved toward the line and slotted the ball into the empty net from a tight angle to kick off what turned out to be a wild night.
In the end, Toronto got the result they seemed to deserve.
''I told Terry I owe him dinner,'' Kocic said. ''He really stepped up for me and for the team and for everybody.