Victor Vazquez and Jozy Altidore scored in the second half after Vancouver was reduced to 10 men as Toronto FC beat the Whitecaps 2-0 on Saturday afternoon.A scrappy game was turned on its head in the 70th minute when Vancouver midfielder Brek Shea was shown a yellow card for a foul on Toronto defender Nick Hagglund before saying something to referee Ismail Elfath to immediately earn a second booking and a sending off. Place Stadium.Both teams were missing key pieces for their only league meeting of the year, with Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted suspended and star Toronto striker Sebastian Giovinco out with a charley horse.Canadian international Tosaint Ricketts slotted into Giovinco’s spot, while Richey made his first-ever MLS appearance in place of Ousted.Alex Bono started in goal for Toronto in place of Clint Irwin, who played the first two games.Whitecaps striker Fredy Montero had an opportunity in the 60th minute after the ball fell to him in the Toronto penalty area, but Drew Moor blocked the effort.Vancouver got the game’s first shot on target a minute later when Russell Teibert tested Bono from distance that the Toronto ‘keeper easily handled.The second half had more flow than the opening 45 minutes, and Justin Morrow forced Richey into his first MLS save on a shot from 20 yards out in the 66th before Shea’s sending off four minutes later.Tempers started to flare near the end of the match, with Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley shown a yellow in the 87th after the teams came together near the centre circle.The first half was a scrappy affair that included 13 fouls and just three shots — two off target and one blocked, all by Toronto.Hagglund flashed a header wide of the Vancouver goal in the 18th minute off a Bradley free kick.The visitors almost caught the Whitecaps napping in the 26th when Morrow snuck behind the backline on a quickly taken free kick before getting closed down by Waston. Place against the L.A. Galaxy on April 1.Toronto, meanwhile, opens its home schedule on March 31. Place.After a busy start to the season that included Tuesday’s 2-0 loss in Mexico to Tigres UANL in the CONCACAF Champions League, the Whitecaps will welcome the rest that comes with next weekend’s international window. Vazquez, who signed with Toronto last month and entered the match six minute earlier, made the hosts pay in the 76th when he nodded his first goal for his new club off a headed feed from Altidore past Spencer Richey. The initial ball was played in by fellow substitute Raheem Edwards.Altidore then put things to bed in the 80th after taking a pass from Jonathan Osorio and turning past Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston before burying his second goal of 2017.Playing its third consecutive road game to start the year, Toronto (1-0-2) opened its Major League Soccer schedule with a scoreless tie against Real Salt Lake before a 2-2 draw with the Philadelphia Union last weekend.Vancouver (0-2-1) lost 3-2 at the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday after playing the Union to a 0-0 draw at home in its opener at B.C. Vancouver returns to action at B.C. Hagglund got a head to the ensuing corner, but it again missed the target.Vancouver’s best chance came in the 32nd when Montero pressured Bono and blocked his clearance only to see the ball dribble wide of the post.Montero had another opportunity six minutes later, but was unable to connect at the near post on an attempted backheel off a one-time cross from Sheanon Williams.Vancouver picked up a 4-3 win at BMO Field in 2016 league play, but was left heartbroken last June after Toronto scored in the fifth minute of extra time to snatch the Canadian Championship from the Whitecaps’ grasp on the away goals rule at B.C.
The Gunners’ fourth loss in five league games raised further questions about the future of under-pressure manager Arsene Wenger, who announced intriguingly afterwards: “I know what I will do. You will soon know.”Conte had been without the in-form Eden Hazard through injury for what always promised to be an awkward fixture for Chelsea at Stoke and, just as they had recently held Manchester City at home, the Potters again made life difficult.Willian put the leaders ahead after 13 minutes thanks to a blunder by Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant but Jon Walters equalized with a penalty before halftime after being fouled by Cahill.The England defender made amends in the 87th minute with a deserved winner and, after Phil Bardsley had been sent off for Stoke in added time, Conte celebrated with his staff on the touchline as Chelsea moved on to 69 points, leaving all the pressure on their nearest pursuers who play on Sunday.Second-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who host Southampton, and third-placed Manchester City, who welcome fourth-placed Liverpool to the Etihad Stadium, now both have to win to get back within 10 points of the leaders.Wenger protestsArsenal’s defeat came amid more protests from some of the more vociferous of the Gunners’ faithful about Wenger as the manager acknowledged that his side were in the middle of “a unique bad patch” in his two-decade managerial reign.After dismal defending saw West Brom’s Craig Dawson head home twice from corners in a convincing win for Tony Pulis’s men, Wenger told reporters: “We lose game after game at the moment and that for me is much more important than my future.”Yet as the debates about his prospects became ever louder – one airplane trailed a banner over the ground that declared “Wenger Out” while another trumpeted “In Arsene We Trust” – the Frenchman said he would clarify his future soon.His team, though, now look in serious jeopardy of not enjoying a 20th successive season of Champions League football in 2017-18 – and if Manchester United win at Middlesbrough on Sunday, Arsenal, currently fifth on 50 points, will drop to sixth, two points behind Jose Mourinho’s men.Basement club Sunderland were held 0-0 at home to poor travellers Burnley, while third-bottom Hull City were trounced 4-0 by Everton, for whom league-leading scorer Romelu Lukaku scored twice in added time, taking his season’s tally to 21.The Belgian became the first Toffees’ striker to hit 20 league goals in a season, since Gary Lineker 31 years ago, though his goals were bitter-sweet for Everton fans who know he could leave after this week rejecting a new contract offer.Leicester City’s remarkable resurgence under new manager Craig Shakespeare continued with a fourth successive win under his stewardship since Claudio Ranieri’s sacking.The champions won 3-2 at West Ham United with first-half goals from Riyad Mahrez, Robert Huth and Jamie Vardy for their first league success away from home all season.Like Leicester, Crystal Palace eased their worries with a third straight win, 1-0 at home to Watford thanks to Troy Deeney’s own goal, suggesting master escapologist Sam Allardyce can maintain his record of never suffering a Premier League relegation. Chelsea continued their seemingly irresistible surge towards regaining the Premier League title as a late Gary Cahill goal saw them eke out a 2-1 win at Stoke City and move 13 points clear of their pursuers on Saturday.The latest triumph for Antonio Conte’s unstoppable charges came after London rivals Arsenal’s season continued to unravel with a third straight 3-1 away league defeat, this time at West Bromwich Albion.
The Blackhawks entered the night with victories in three straight and six of their last eight. The Leafs (32-23-15) hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, now with 79 points. The Blackhawks (46-20-5) increased their hold on top spot in the Western Conference, now with 97 points following their fourth straight win.John Hayden scored his first NHL goal in the win for Chicago while Corey Crawford stopped 25 of 26 shots.The Leafs, sporting historic green and white uniforms, were playing their first game at home after a three-game road trip which saw them scoop up a pair of wins. The Toronto Maple Leafs came up just short of a big win over one of the NHL’s top teams.Ryan Hartman scored the winner with 17 seconds left in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks downed the Leafs 2-1 on Saturday night.Auston Matthews broke out of a goal drought in defeat, while Frederik Andersen was sharp with 37 saves. Chicago, the top team in the West and among the hotter clubs in the NHL of late, posed a big challenge to that mini-run.
Andrew Shaw, Philip Danault and Brendan Gallagher scored for Montreal in regulation as Carey Price made 28 saves.Derick Brassard, Ryan Dzingel and Erik Karlsson scored for the Senators as Craig Anderson, who had missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, made 29 saves.There had been some debate Saturday morning as to who would start for the Senators, as it remained questionable whether Anderson was fit to play. Paul Byron and Alexander Radulov scored in the shootout as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-3 Saturday night in the first half of a home-and-home series.The two teams will have little time to regroup as they face off Sunday night in Montreal.With the win, the Canadiens (40-23-8) take a two-point lead over the Senators (39-23-8) for first in the Atlantic Division.