By Mary Cunningham
Federico Higuain scored in the 84th minute and Frederic Brillant in the first minute of stoppage time to lift 10-man D.C. United to a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC in the twice-postponed Group C match of the MLS is Back Tournament near Orlando.
After Ayo Akinola gave Toronto (1-0-2 season, 0-0-1 tournament) the lead with goals in the 12th and 44th minutes, D.C. (1-1-1, 0-0-1) rallied when Higuain highlighted his D.C. debut by halving the deficit with a sublime 20-yard chip after a through ball by Felipe.
Higuain scored 55 goals for the Columbus Crew in 193 games before his off-season signing.
Brillant’s goal came after he powered a header following a header by Steve Birnbaum from Felipe’s free kick.
In the last minute of the match, D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid pushed away a shot by Akinola.
The first half ended ominously for D.C. After Akinola made it 2-0, Ola Kamara’s header was denied by Toronto goalkeeper Quentin Westberg with a reactionary right-hand save in the first minute of stoppage time. In the sixth minute, D.C. midfielder Junior Moreno received a red card.
The match was originally scheduled for Friday night but was moved to Sunday after Toronto’s arrival to Florida was delayed because of added coronavirus testing.
Then, it was postponed again just before kickoff Sunday after COVID-19 testing on Saturday showed a D.C. player was positive and the result for a Toronto player was inconclusive.
Results for second round of tests could not be completed in time for the game on Sunday. It was later revealed that both players tested negative, however, they were not permitted to play Monday.
Under the revised schedule, Toronto will next play the Montreal Impact on Thursday while D.C. faces the New England Revolution on Friday.