D.C. United showed no mercy to struggling Toronto FC in a 7-1 drubbing before 14,000 at Audi Field. TFC, who entered the game on a five-game losing streak, were ripped to shreds, with United up 3-0 after 21 minutes before pouring it on late. United homegrowns Andy Najar and Griffin Yow both had two assists, while Yow joined a list of seven different goalscorers for the rampant Black-and-Red.
United, who kicked this game off with just two goals in their last 406 minutes played at home, were determined to break that streak as soon as possible, and took a 1-0 lead after just 71 seconds. An initial attack went astray, but the Black-and-Red counter-pressed, winning the ball back quickly. Paul Arriola fed Andy Najar down the right, and Najar’s cross — helped on by a dummy from Adrien Perez — rolled to the back post, where Paredes powered home his first MLS goal.
The seconds after the goal were wide open, as both sides missed good chances. Jacob Shaffelburg had his head in his hands after guiding a close-range look wide in the 3rd minute, while Adrien Perez fired over from dead center just seconds later.
United were largely all over TFC though, and the Black-and-Red made it 2-0 in the 8th minute. Junior Moreno, back from international duty at Copa América with Venezuela, perfectly timed a through ball for Nigel Robertha, who checked his run to break the Toronto offside trap. From there, Robertha strolled in alone against Alex Bono before calmly guiding home his second MLS goal.
The goals came just before United supporters honored “Big Rob” Gillespie, a beloved day one fixture in the stands who recently passed away after a years-long battle with cancer.
TFC had a couple of half-chances, but United were relentless, making it 3-0 after just 21 minutes. Andy Najar came forward from the back three in possession, entering the box before fooling Jacob Shaffelburg with a wicked cutback. Najar then teed up Russell Canouse, whose shot took a deflection off of Omar Gonzalez and Ralph Priso-Mbongue that wrong-footed Bono before sneaking over the line.
United were looking to make Toronto chase, but with Paredes briefly off the field getting treatment, the visitors pulled a goal back. After a long ball, TFC worked play over to Michael Bradley, who delivered a delicate chip over the defense for the onrushing Ayo Akinola, who shot first-time past Hamid in the 39th minute.
Chris Armas made two halftime subs, and then added Alejandro Pozuelo to the mix in the 51st minute. However, United had the next chance, with Bono never claiming after coming off his line. Robertha had an open net from a very low angle, but rushed his shot and missed the ball, letting TFC off the hook.
Tony Alfaro, who entered the game as United looked to add some defensive steel to protect their lead, nearly made it 4-1, nodding a corner down and just wide of Bono’s goal in the 65th minute.
Toronto were trying to find a way to get within a goal, but Arriola put the match to bed with some real invention in the 71st minute. Paredes picked out Najar, now part of the front line, as he entered the box. Najar’s pass to Arriola looked like it might run long, but Arriola charged onto it and cut out the TFC defense with a wonderful first touch. From there, all that was left to do was fire past Bono, making it 4-1.
United showed no mercy. Eriq Zavaleta picked up two yellow cards in three minutes, getting sent off by referee Lukasz Szpala in the 78th minute. Three minutes later, two substitutes combined to make it 5-1, with Griffin Yow sending a ball from the top of the DCU box for Ola Kamara to run in alone. Kamara had to eventually hold off Chris Mavinga before rolling a shot past Bono.
The goals kept coming. Kamara thought he’d scored again only for the offside flag to come up, but just moments later they made it 6-1. This time, some lovely passing opened Toronto up, with Asad integral in the move before Arriola eventually picked him out for a header from seven yards out in the 85th minute. Yow then got on the scoresheet in the 90th minute, chasing down a ball on the endline before ripping a shot past Bono at the near post.
Thanks to a new record high score at Audi Field, United’s record improved to 5W-1D-6L on the season, moving them at least temporarily above the red line in the Eastern Conference on 16 points. With the Gold Cup break looming, United’s next matches will come in the Capital Cup friendly tournament.
MLS Regular Season - Game 12
D.C. United 7 (Paredes 2, Robertha 8, Priso-Mbongue 21og, Arriola 71, Kamara 81, Asad 85, Yow 90)
Toronto FC 1 (Akinola 39)
DCU (343): Bill Hamid; Andy Najar (Yamil Asad 76), Brendan Hines-Ike, Donovan Pines; Julian Gressel (Griffin Yow 62), Russell Canouse, Junior Moreno (Moses Nyeman 82), Kevin Paredes; Paul Arriola (C), Nigel Robertha (Ola Kamara 76), Adrien Perez (Tony Alfaro 62)
TFC (541): Alex Bono; Richie Laryea, Eriq Zavaleta, Omar Gonzalez (Auro Jr. 46), Chris Mavinga, Kemar Lawrence; Jonathan Osorio, Michael Bradley (C), Ralph Priso-Mbongue (Alejandro Pozuelo 51), Jacob Shaffelburg (Yeferson Sotelto 46); Ayo Akinola (Dom Dwyer 76)
DCU - Gressel 57
TFC - Gonzalez 35, Osorio 47+, Zavaleta 75, Zavaleta 78 (sent off)