Sebastian Giovinco failed to convert a penalty as Toronto FC rang in the new season the same way they finished the old, playing out a scoreless draw on Saturday on the opening weekend of Major League Soccer (MLS).
Toronto fielded an identical lineup to the one that lost to the Seattle Sounders in December in a penalty shootout at MLS Cup 2016.
But goals again proved hard to come by, with former Juventus forward Giovinco squandering a first-half chance to score from the spot after he was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
Up stepped the diminutive Italian, who took his shot to Rimando’s right. Giovinco has a habit of striking penalties to the right of the keeper, and it looked as though Rimando knew that, as he got down smartly to make the save and redeem himself.
At least Toronto picked up a point in Utah, which is more than the Sounders could muster as they began their championship defence by falling 2-1 away to the Houston Dynamos.
Clint Dempsey, returning for his first competitive match since a heart issue sidelined him last August, scored for Seattle but that was about the only bright spot for the Sounders.
In Carson, California, Kellyn Acosta scored the winner in the 69th minute as FC Dallas beat Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1.
The 21-year-old’s sixth career goal helped FC Dallas win their sixth straight regular-season opener, an MLS record.
The Sports Xchange via Reuters