TORONTO — Victor Vazquez scored twice and Toronto FC added a pair of late goals en route to a 5-0 humiliation of Columbus Crew SC Friday, matching a franchise record by extending its unbeaten streak to eight games.
Toronto (8-1-5) is 7-0-1 since suffering its lone league loss of the season, a 2-1 decision in Columbus on April 15. Columbus (6-7-1) has gone the other way, losing five of seven since downing TFC at Mapfre Stadium.
Justin Morrow and substitutes Jonathan Osorio and Jordan Hamilton had the other goals for league-leading Toronto, which also went unbeaten in eight games (4-0-4) from May 8 to July 10, 2010.
Vazquez, an elegant Spanish playmaker who leads the league in assists with eight, came off in the 68th minute to a standing ovation from the announced crowd of 25,376 at BMO Field.
It was Toronto's sixth clean sheet of the season.
Toronto was reduced to 10 men in the 81st minute when midfielder Marky Delgado was red-carded for a studs-up tackle on Columbus captain Wil Trapp. It didn't matter as Toronto added late goals via Osorio and Hamilton.
Toronto had its six-game win streak snapped last Friday in a 1-1 tie at the New York Red Bulls. A reserve Toronto side was upset 2-1 by the Ottawa Fury on Tuesday in the first leg of the Canadian championship semifinal.
Toronto was without its starting forward tandem of Sebastian Giovinco (injured) and Jozy Altidore (suspended for yellow card accumulation) on Friday. Defender Nick Hagglund is also injured.
Giovinco seemingly thought he was ready to return from his quad injury, posting on Instagram "When you are ready but they don't want to listen" under a picture of him in action.
Ben Spencer made his MLS debut up front for Toronto. The 22-year-old, a former star with the U.S. under-20 squad, has battled back from a rare knee condition where the meniscus is so worn that a hole develops, with swelling coming from cartilage damage.
Spencer, coming in for Altidore, was the only change to the team that tied the Red Bulls. He was subbed after a fine 60-minute showing.
A fine through ball from Vazquez to Tosaint Ricketts set the stage for the opening goal. Ricketts, the fastest man on the Toronto roster, sped away from Jonathan Mensah and the Ghanaian international was forced to tug him down.
Vazquez made no mistake from the spot kick, welcome news for coach Greg Vanney who has seen both Giovinco and Altidore run into problems with penalties. Mensah was yellow-carded on the play.
Morrow made it 2-0 in the 39th minute, his left-footed shot beating Zack Steffen after a nice feed from Spencer. Columbus gave the ball away on the play with a Waylon Francis header putting Trapp under pressure and allowing Spencer to step in.
Vazquez made Columbus pay again in the 59th after Crew SC committed a foul on the edge of the box. The Spaniard beat Steffen with a grasscutter free kick that went under the wall for his third goal of the year.
Osorio, who came in for Vazquez, made it 4-0 in the 86th minute, taking advantage of a huge hole in the Columbus defence. Hamilton scored on a header in stoppage time.
The win extended Toronto's unbeaten run at home to seven games (5-0-2).
The club record for consecutive home wins in a single season is 10 matches from April 15 to Aug. 7, 2010 (6-0-4). TFC's longest unbeaten home streak covering more than one season is 17 games, June 13, 2009, to Aug. 7, 2010 (11-0-6).
Columbus thought it was due a penalty of its own halfway through the first half but referee Drew Fischer apparently ruled defender Drew Moor had not handled the ball in the Toronto box.
Columbus coach Gregg Berhalter replaced Justin Meram with Brazil's Artur in the 40th minute in an apparent tactical move. The visitors failed to put a shot on target in the first half.
Vazquez almost scored in the 50th minute, intercepting a sloppy Harrison Afful pass after some woeful Columbus defending. But Steffen was able to get a hand to the curling shot.
A rare errant Vazquez pass was intercepted leading to a Columbus scoring chance but Kekuta Manneh blasted the ball high. The Spaniard made up for it minutes later, splitting the defence to find Spencer. An onrushing Steffen got a hand to the ball first and Spencer was unable to find a teammate in the box.
Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter