Toledo Villa Stays Unbeaten on Road with 4-1 Victory in Buffalo
A convincing road victory in Buffalo this weekend, has Toledo Villa FC sitting in second place in the USL2 Valley Division as the halfway point of the season nears this weekend.
In a 4-1 win over FC Buffalo on Saturday, June 10, Toledo got goals from Derrick Mensah, Ali Nasser, Jacobo Sanfeliu, and Zach Mowka while Georgios Theodoulides stopped all but one shot to earn his first win in his second start in net for Toledo.
"It was definitely the best game that we've had going forward, " said coach Matt Johnson. "I mean four goals will tell you that. And we had a couple others that I thought we could have finished that we didn't.
"Overall, it was probably our best game of the year going forward."
Mensah started in place of Eli Shope at right wingback and got the opening goal, his first for the club, in the fourth minute to get things started off on the right foot for Villa.
"That was at a point in the game where I would say that Buffalo had certainly had the better of it," Johnson said. "Just a great individual goal to beat the left back the way that he did, and then finish at the near post. It was a terrific goal. Overall, I think he [Mensah] had a very good performance."
Theodoulides kept Toledo in the lead with a big save around the 21st minute. A slip by Rodrigo Silva on the back end let Buffalo's Ander Castillo in on a 1v1, but Theodoulides answered the call. In the 33rd minute, Buffalo also hit the post on a free kick that could have knotted it up.
A few near misses for a second goal in the first half saw Mensah, Nasser, and Sanfeliu all almost find the net but Nasser was able to get his third goal of the year before the halftime whistle to make it 2-0.
A mix-up on an innocuous header back from a Buffalo defender to starting keeper Jamie Berry led to a loose ball for Nasser to pick off and slot it home for the two-goal advantage at the break.
"It was just Ali doing a good job of chasing and pressing and taking advantage of a mistake between their center back and the goalie," Johnson explained. "That's indicative of him. Ali's been very good all year. One of the things that I think he's done really well is he's active, eager to press. He works, and gives us a presence in there defensively, as well as going forward."
In the 53rd minute, Toledo profited again on a loose pass by Buffalo and Jayden Da won the ball, took a shot and it was saved by Berry. But Sanfeliu was on hand to finish up and score his team-leading fourth goal of the year.
Castillo got one back for Buffalo in the 69th minute, but Toledo withstood the home team's late pressure for a second.
Aion Morton-Wizgen, who subbed in for Mensah in the 82nd minute intercepted a ball forward. He played it ahead to Eduardo Barros, who laid it off for Mowka wide open in the six-yard box to tap in for the last goal of the game and ensure a 4-1 win.
Toledo improves to 3-1-1 this season after having played all five teams in the division and rests in second place in the standings while staying unbeaten since an opening season loss to Fort Wayne FC (3-0-1).
Toledo will have its first full week of rest since the season began and will travel to Cleveland Force SC (1-2-3) on Saturday. Villa defeated Force, 3-2, on Wednesday, June 7.
"It's tough, to be honest, to play every three days," Sanfeliu said after the win over Cleveland and was looking forward to a slight respite from constant Game Day preparation. "It's kind of difficult to overcome those physical games, especially these tight games, that physicality is always a big thing."