LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Federico Higuain and Frederic Brillant both scored late in the second half as D.C. United rallied for a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC on Monday in the MLS is Back tournament.
D.C. United played the entire second half with 10 men after Junior Moreno picked up a second yellow card during first-half stoppage time and was sent off. Despite being short-handed, D.C. United finished its two chances in the closing minutes to earn one point.
Higuain, an MLS veteran in his first year with D.C. United after parts of eight seasons with Columbus, got behind the Toronto defense and chipped goalkeeper Quentin Westberg in the 84th minute to cut the deficit to 2-1. Seven minutes later, at the beginning of stoppage time, D.C. United took advantage of a free kick. Steven Birnbaum headed the free kick into the middle of the penalty area and Brillant redirected it past Westberg to pull D.C. United even.
D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid preserved the draw with a sprawling left-handed save while crashing into the goalpost in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
Ayo Akinola scored twice in the first half for Toronto, both off assists from Alejandro Pozuelo. His second goal just before halftime came off a defensive blunder by D.C. United and a perfectly chipped cross from Pozuelo.
But despite playing with the man advantage and dominating possession, the Reds couldn’t hold off D.C. United’s late rally.
The opening match for the two sides in the tournament was delayed twice. The Group C match was originally scheduled for last Friday but was postponed to Sunday after Toronto’s delayed arrival in Florida.
Another 24-hour delay occurred Sunday, with the match was called off just before kickoff after coronavirus testing on Saturday revealed an unconfirmed positive test from a D.C. United player and an inconclusive test from a Toronto player. That prompted another round of testing for all players on Sunday, in which all tested negative and allowed the match to finally be played.
D.C. United (2-1-0) opened the season with a loss to Colorado and a win over Inter Miami before the league stopped play in March.
Toronto (1-0-2) earned its second draw on the season after opening with a 2-2 draw against San Jose and a win over NYCFC.
Sign up for Daily Newsletters
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.