By DAN KARELL
Toronto FC Designated Player Jermain Defoe showed off the quality that has turned TFC into a playoff contender overnight.
Defoe scored two second half goals as TFC came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Houston Dynamo, 4-2, at BMO Field on Saturday evening. The victory came despite Michael Bradley not making TFC’s gameday squad and fellow Designated Player Gilberto starting the match on the bench.
The match began in the worst way possible for the hosts, as they conceded twice to returning U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Brad Davis in the opening 30 minutes.
Davis grabbed his first in the 13th minute, taking advantage of open space cleared up by a great barnstorming from Giles Barnes. Barnes, who dribbled through a few TFC defenders, fed Davis on the left and the veteran midfielder finished low at the near post.
The second goal of the match came in the 30th minute, just seconds after Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall parried away a smashed free kick from Defoe. Dynamo midfielder Warren Creavalle sent in a ball from the right wing that evaded the TFC defense and fell to Davis. Davis took a touch before slotting home to give the visitors a stunning 2-0 lead.
From then on out, it was all TFC.
In the 39th minute, Defoe received the ball on the right side and after holding up the play to allow his midfielders to run into the box, floated a cross into the middle. Hall mis-played the cross, allowing TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio to head home from point blank range.
TFC amazingly tied the match in first half stoppage time, and Defoe again played a huge role. Defoe ran unopposed towards the Dynamo box before dishing to his right to winger Dominic Oduro. Oduro fired a shot on goal that deflected off Hall and went right back to the Ghanian, who finished on the second time asking.
In the second half, it was Oduro and Osorio who played provider for Defoe as TFC completed their comeback. In the 63rd minute, Oduro used a beautiful back-heel to spring Osorio into action moving forward. Osorio fed Defoe at the edge of the box and the Englishman supplied a left-footed finish to five TFC the 3-2 lead.
Defoe added an insurance goal for good measure in the 89th minute, taking Hall one-on-one on a breakaway and finishing on the second opportunity after Hall got a piece of Defoe’s original shot. It was Defoe’s ninth and tenth goals of the season.
Watch the highlights below: