Who were those guys?
If the bulk of the 20,259 on hand at BMO Field on Saturday have seen TFC’s other matches this season, they surely were asking that question as the Reds dominated the Houston Dynamo in a 2-1 thumping that ended an ugly six-game winless skid for Toronto.
Four of those games have been at home and the Reds apparently were tired of giving away points in their friendly confines.
Young Joao Plata, in particular. Plata, the smallest player on the field put together a stunning effort, opening the scoring on a penalty kick and putting the Reds up 2-1 with a fine pass to Maicon Santos who finished behind Dynamo keeper Tally Hall.
Houston had no answers for Plata’s speed as the young Ecuadorian ran circles around Houston’s defenders.
Toronto had one of its best first halfs of the season, outshooting Houston 4-2, but could not get on the board though Julian de Guzman beat everything but Hall’s left hand in the 11th minute.
The Reds came on strong to start the second half when Plata headed a great pass from de Guzman to a wide open Jacob Peterson. However, Hall dove to turn aside Peterson’s attempt.
In the 49th minute, Nick Soolsma was taken down in the box after making a great move to deke out Andre Hainault. Winter elected to have Plata step up, and the young Ecuadorian fired a high shot past Hall to open the scoring.
Instead of sitting on the lead, the Reds continued to come at Houston hard. The home side simply outran the visitors on a number of occasions, At times, it looked like the Reds were playing with a man advantage as Houston struggled to cope with the relentless pressure.
Adrian Cann sprung Plata on a tremendous pass and Plata nearly got a shot through Hall before the pair collided in an incident the TFC fans believed should have resulted in another penalty attempt.
Plata later got another shot but Hall made an easy save.
Plata was at it again in the 81st minute, finding Maicon Santos - who had just come into the game five minutes earlier- who beat Corey Ashe to the ball and then fired past Hall.
After a celebratory dance, Plata was hoisted up by his mates for the second time on the night.
Toronto’s Stefan Frei continued his brilliant season with a marvelous save in the 87th minute that preserved his clean sheet, but Houston continued to attack and Lovel Palmer cut the lead to one.
But with strong play from the defence - particularly Cann and Dicoy Williams, strong throughout - TFC held on for a well-deserved victory, its first since March 26th against Portland.