Sebastian Giovinco and David Villa starred as Toronto FC and New York City played out an eight-goal thriller, while Vancouver Whitecaps missed the chance to lead the Western Conference in MLS.
Although New York City fans were denied their first look at Frank Lampard in action, the supporters at Yankee Stadium would surely have gone home thinking they got their money’s worth, as they saw an MLS-record four penalties in a 4-4 draw.
Lampard had been expected to debut for City on Sunday but missed out due to a calf injury.
The result saw Toronto (24 points) move into third in the East, although they sit 11 points adrift of conference leaders DC United, while New York (21) are second-bottom after again failing to keep a clean sheet.
“One of the things that you need to have to be successful in this league is consistency in the back four, and that is a big reason for our inconsistencies,” City coach Jason Kreis said.
The home side hit the front in the 17th minute when Villa curled a free-kick in off the post but Toronto should have levelled proceedings two minutes later, only for Giovinco to hit the woodwork from the spot.
Villa then had a penalty saved in the 28th minute but Patrick Mullins’ follow-up effort deflected off Damien Perquis for an own goal, before Giovinco made up for his earlier miss with a converted spot-kick five minutes later.
The former Juventus striker equalised in the 40th minute and then put Toronto ahead two minutes before the break with a clever chip.
Villa scored from the fourth penalty of the match just after the hour mark to make it 3-3, although Toronto looked on track for victory when Giovinco set up Marco Delgado with eight minutes remaining.
But in a final twist, the visitors were unable to clear a free-kick in the 84th minute and Mullins was on hand to head the loose ball into the net.
“It was crazy, hectic and as unpredictable a game as I’ve been involved in, for sure,” Toronto coach Greg Vanney said.
In Vancouver, Kevin Ellis’ second-half header saw Sporting Kansas City triumph 1-0 over the Whitecaps, who had only needed a draw to claim top spot in the West.
Tim Parker twice went close to scoring the goal Vancouver needed but Sporting midfielder Benny Feilhaber cleared the ball off the line in the first half, while goalkeeper Tim Melia made a stunning save in the 90th minute to deny the Whitecaps centre-back.
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