Alejandro Pozuelo scored twice in his debut for host Toronto FC, including a stunning 78th-minute chip over New York City FC goalie Sean Johnson in a 4-0 victory on Friday night.
The 27-year-old Spaniard, introduced earlier this week after Toronto (3-0-0, 9 points) officially completed his acquisition from Belgian club Gent, also assisted Jozy Altidore‘s opener in Altidore’s first start back from an ankle injury.
Altidore returned the favor in the second half, earning a penalty after a video review. Pozuelo converted the spot kick for his first MLS goal.
Jay Chapman added a late strike to complete Toronto’s third straight win to open the season, the best three-game start in club history.
The win took Toronto into the top spot in the Eastern Conference above D.C. United, which plays at Orlando on Sunday.
NYCFC (0-1-3, 3 points) lost for the first time in 2019 and conceded three goals for the first time since last October in a visit to D.C. NYCFC is winless after four MLS matches for the first time in the club’s four-year history.
After seeing an earlier goal disallowed for offside following a video review, Toronto took the lead in the 29th minute following a fluid move through NYCFC’s defense. Pozuelo provided the final pass after combining with Jonathan Osorio, setting up Altidore for a tap-in.
Pozuelo doubled Toronto’s lead in the 59th minute when Altidore drew a foul on Alexander Callens, with referee Chris Penso awarding the spot kick following a look at the replay. As Johnson guessed to his right and dived, Pozuelo chipped the ball calmly down the middle.
That foreshadowed what was to come 18 minutes later, when Pozuelo flooded forward on a counterattack, took Osorio’s pass and from about 15 yards out and lofted a perfectly weighted effort over the retreating Johnson into the top left corner.
As the south end of BMO Field roared with approval, Pozuelo stood almost motionless and absorbed the congratulations of his new teammates. He would be substituted in favor of Chapman only moments later, and he left to another ovation.
Chapman scored off an Auro assist in the 83rd minute.