The game plan coming into Toronto FC’s Champions League rematch with Tauro FC was simple – attack, attack, attack.
The Reds stuck to the plan and bombarded the Panamanian squad from the opening minute coming away with a 1-0 victory at BMO Field Tuesday night.
Red-hot Danny Koevermans led the way with the only goal of the game: his seventh in his last eight games.
In the first game between the two clubs, and opener of the CONCACAF tournament’s group stage, Toronto capitalized on some early mistakes en route to a 2-1 win.
After that game the teams went in different directions. Toronto lost two straight to FC Dallas and Mexico City’s Pumas UNAM, while Tauro managed a pair of draws against those same clubs. Head coach Aron Winter was adamant leading up to the game that TFC couldn’t take the squad lightly.
“Everybody has underestimated Tauro,” Winter told reporters after practise on Monday. “We are not doing that because if you see all the results, except our result in the first game, this is a team that is difficult to beat.”
Toronto matched the physicality of Tauro, controlled the ball better, created better chances and walked away victorious.
The pressure from the Reds paid off in the 40th minute when the club surged ahead just before the half.
The Reds controlled the ball at midfield, making quick passes and spreading the ball around.
Ashtone Morgan received a pass on the wing and sent a cross towards the far post. The ball ended up on the foot of a Tauro defenceman but his clearing attempt went straight to forward Peri Marosevic, who headed the ball back into the crease in perfect position for Koevermans to redirect it into the back of the net.
But the Dutch forward wasn’t ready to take all the credit in his interview with Sportsnet’s Kara Lang during halftime.
“We just played better as a team,” he said. “It’s not only for me, it’s also for the rest. The crosses come and everybody has to be inside the box. Everybody is there and we’re playing good.”
The second half turned into a defence battle. The Reds ability to stifle any Tauro attack allowed them to clear the ball repeatedly, draining valuable time off the clock.
A free kick for Tauro just outside the box in injury time was the only real scare of the game, but the shot went off the wall of TFC defenders and the referee blew the final whistle.
Koevermans’ goal gave Toronto its second win of the group stage as the Reds moved into second place behind FC Dallas.