Victor Vazquez, Sebastian Giovinco and Jay Chapman scored as Toronto FC defeated the Philadelphia Union 3-0 on Friday night at BMO Field.
Vazquez tallied in the 29th minute and Giovinco scored in the 65th – his first goal of the Major League Soccer season – as Toronto (2-4-1) earned its first league victory in five weeks.
Chapman added an insurance goal in the 90th minute.
The host side started the night in last place in the 11-team Eastern Conference standings, but leapfrogged Montreal and D.C. United with the three points. Philadelphia fell to 2-4-2 on the season.
The injury ravaged Toronto FC squad was missing several regulars. Forward Jozy Altidore (hamstring) and defenders Drew Moor (quad), Justin Morrow (calf), Chris Mavinga (hamstring), Eriq Zavaleta (quad) and Nick Hagglund (hamstring) all sat out.
Coach Greg Vanney used a 4-1-4-1 formation with captain Michael Bradley anchoring a back line that included Gregory van der Wiel, Auro and Ashtone Morgan. The Union went with a 4-2-3-1 setup.
Howling winds were a factor on a chilly, clear evening at the lakefront stadium. Giovinco tested Andre Blake in the early going with a shot from distance that forced the Philadelphia goalkeeper to fully extend for the save.
Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono showed his form moments later.
He displayed quick reflexes to get a piece of the ball on a header by Union captain Alejandro Bedoya. The ball hit the bar and was cleared.
Giovinco helped set up the opening goal by finding Nicolas Hasler charging down the right side. Hasler fed the ball into the middle where it was deftly stroked into the corner by Vazquez.
It was the second goal of the season for the Spanish midfielder, who also tallied in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Chicago.
The Union managed the occasional scoring chance, but seemed rather flummoxed overall. The home side used quick, efficient passes and an aggressive style to break down the Philadelphia defence.
Vazquez helped pull the strings for Toronto while Bradley and van der Wiel offered a steady presence at the back.
Philadelphia’s Jack Elliott was shown a yellow card in the first half. Giovinco and Morgan were also carded before halftime.
Toronto used a strong counter-attack to pad its lead in the second half. Jonathan Osorio found space in the midfield before passing to Giovinco outside the box.
Giovinco took advantage of a rather timid defensive effort from Elliott, who didn’t make a challenge and stumbled. The Toronto star moved past him and used his left foot to squeeze the ball past Blake.
Chapman later delivered a quality strike for his first goal of the season to put the game out of reach.
Toronto improved to 2-1-1 at home while Philadelphia (0-3-0) remained winless on the road. Announced attendance was 24,728.
Toronto’s last MLS win was a 3-1 decision over Real Salt Lake on March 30. The Reds fielded reserve-heavy lineups last month during their run to the CONCACAF Champions League final.
The Union will continue their three-game road swing Wednesday with a visit to Columbus. Toronto will entertain the Seattle Sounders on the same night.