Toronto FC notches first win against L.A. Galaxy in 11 attempts
Toronto FC teammates celebrate Drew Moor's goal against the LA Galaxy during second half MLS soccer action in Toronto on Saturday June 18, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jon Blacker
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, June 18, 2016 11:19PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 18, 2016 11:28PM EDT
TORONTO -- Drew Moor cradled his newborn son Joseph in his arms during the singing of "O Canada" on Saturday night.
Some 76 minutes later, the new dad scored Toronto FC's only goal in a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy, ending a 10-game winless streak against L.A., and kicking off a gruelling stretch of games on a positive note.
"He's coming on the field for every game now," Moor joked in the dressing room post-game.
Moor marched onto a sun-drenched BMO Field for the anthems carrying his son, who was clad in a tiny No. 3 "Moor" sleeper.
The game looked destined for a goalless draw when the defender scored on a diving header from the top of the six-yard box. Midfielder Benoit Cheyrou sent in a long ball that Eriq Zavaleta headed backward toward the net, placing it perfectly for Moor to launch past Galaxy 'keeper Brian Rowe for his 24th career goal.
"I asked (Zavaleta) after the game, 'Did you know I was there?' He said yes," Moor said. "I just had a feeling he knew I was there, and it was a perfect header from him, and I thought he and I were on the same page all night, even in the attacking half there. It was a fun goal for sure."
Toronto (5-5-4) had been winless in its previous 10 games against Los Angeles, a stretch that included five Galaxy victories and five draws.
The Galaxy was missing two of their stars in Robbie Keane, who is playing for Ireland at the European Championship, and former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who didn't make the trip due to a hamstring injury.
But the Reds were missing two of their own top guns -- Michael Bradley is with the U.S. team, and striker Jozy Altidore remains out with a hamstring injury. Toronto coach Greg Vanney pointed out that even L.A.'s depleted squad was a far more experienced side.
"I wrote up what I thought would be their lineup, and I was still going 'This guy's won a championship. This guy's won a championship. This guy has played in Europe,"' Vanney said. "I would say the amount of MLS games they've had, still with that being sort of their second-choice team was probably quadruple what our group has had."
The game marked the first victory for Toronto over the California side at BMO Field since 2008, and the first meeting of the two teams at the stadium on Lake Ontario since March 2013.
The Reds were also banking on a strong result to kick off a gruelling stretch of five games in 15 days. They host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Tuesday in the first leg of the Canadian Championship final.
"It's good for our group, it gets us off on the right foot," Vanney said.
Toronto was also coming out a break for Copa America action that had ended on a four-game winless streak, punctuated by an 3-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on May 26.
The Galaxy (5-3-6), meanwhile, are winless in five straight.
Vanney praised Moor, not for his goal Saturday night, but for his stabilizing presence on the field. Toronto shored up what was a suspect back line last year when they acquired the highly-coveted free agent in the off-season.
"He's huge because he's very consistent and he helps the guys who are around him," Vanney said. "I played with him (in Dallas) when he was young and I was the old guy, and now he's the old guy and playing with the young guys. He's very stable and he's a good communicator."
Moor said his goal and win was particularly special coming on the eve of Father's Day.
"I've only been a father for about two and a half weeks now, certainly it will be fun to call my father and let him know how much he means to me, and to hold my little boy for a little bit tomorrow as well," he said.
The Galaxy held possession for a good chunk of the first half, but both teams had scoring chances. The game was scoreless at halftime.
Reigning MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco had the best scoring chances on the night, first, in the 60th minute, when he dribbled in forcing Rowe to make a save. Four minutes later, he hit a free kick that Rowe had to dive to knock out of danger.