Sunderland got their first win of their North American tour at the last time of asking, coming from behind to edge Toronto FC 2-1 on Wednesday.
Dick Advocaat’s men were staring down the barrel of three straight losses when Jonathan Osorio put the BMO Field hosts ahead early in the second half.
But a four-minute brace from ex-Toronto man Jermain Defoe gave the Premier League visitors a positive from their venture across the Atlantic Ocean.
Osorio should have put Toronto ahead in the shadows of half-time, but he somehow missed while trying to poke home from point-blank range.
But the 13-time Canada international immediately made amends after the break, burying a shot from 15 yards out as Sunderland trailed for the third time in as many matches.
Unlike their losses to Sacramento Republic and Pachuca, however, Sunderland managed to fight back – with Defoe equalising via a deflected strike off Toronto FC II defender Adam Bouchard.
Defoe, who scored 11 goals in 19 MLS matches for Toronto in 2014-15, then put in the winner for the Wearside outfit, tapping into an empty net after Adam Johnson drew goalkeeper Alex Bono and played in the Sunderland striker.
Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon still had some nervous moments shortly after, with the Romanian doing well to save Toronto FC II forward Molham Babouli’s strike from range – the powerful effort pitching in front of Pantilimon, but he managed to parry it wide for a corner.
The English club was able to hold on for their first win of the tour, but they will need to improve further in friendlies against Doncaster Rovers and Hannover before their Premier League opener against Leicester City on August 8.