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TFC scores twice in extra time to clinch win over Impact, first MLS Cup Final berth

Photo by John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports

Photo by John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO – Wednesday’s clash between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact was one of the more thrilling in MLS playoff history and, when all was said and done, TFC stood tall as the club moved towards MLS Cup.

A quick double from TFC in the first half of extra time booked the Canadian club’s spot in the 2016 MLS Cup final thanks to a 5-2, win in the second of the Eastern Conference final. TFC advanced 7-5 on aggregate while sealing hosting rights for the MLS Cup finale in Dec. 10.

Benoit Cheyrou and Tosaint Ricketts scored the clinching goals in extra time after Nick Hagglund tied the match on aggregate in the 68th minute. Jozy Altidore and Armando Cooper also struck for the hosts. Dominic Oduro and Ignacio Piatti were on the scoresheet for the Impact.

TFC will now face the Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup final on Dec. 10 at BMO Field. This is the first appearance in the final for both teams. Toronto is also the first Canadian side in league history to reach this stage.

The match began at a frantic pace as TFC controled the majority of possession. The Impact were content to absorb the pressure and it resulted in a few close calls for the visitors. A long punt from Clint Irwin found Altidore, who turned past Montreal defender Victor Cabrera, picked out Sebastian Giovinco, but Marco Donadel made a crucial sliding tackle to block the shot at the top of the box.

As the first half continued, the game grew in intensity with several hard tackles flying in. The most cringworthy challenge came from Altidore, who hit Hernan Bernardello in the head with a flying challenge. The Argentine midfielder stayed down for a couple of minutes, but he returned to the pitch despite laying motionless on the field right after the incident.

Once the game calmed down, Montreal found space on the counter and caught TFC’s midfield high up the pitch. Matteo Mancosu found Dominic Oduro with a stunning through ball and the Ghanaian converted in the bottom corner of the goal to open the scoring.

TFC bagged the equalizer about 15 minutes later off a corner as Armando Cooper struck from point blank range off a loose ball. Then, off another set piece, Altidore made a run towards the near post, Giovinco picked him out, and the American made no mistake to give Toronto the lead.

However, the Impact restored the advantage early in the second half. Substitute Johan Venegas picked out Piatti before his deflected shot found its way into the net. It appeared as if Dominic Oduro obstructed Steven Beitashour in an offside position as the TFC defender tried to clear the ball, but the goal still stood.

The craziness ensued after the Impact’s second of the night and the hosts pulled level off a towering header from Hagglund in the center of the box. Piatti and Giovinco both fired wide as the second half came to a close, but neither team found a decisive goal and sent the match to extra time.

TFC was dealt a severe blow to begin the first half of extra time as Giovinco exited the match after he appeared to pull his hamstring after shooting from the top of the box. His substitute, Cheyrou, scored with his first touch to give Toronto a 4-2 lead. Tosaint Ricketts added a fifth just moments later to seal the hosts’ spot in the MLS Cup final.

Toronto and Seattle played each other just once this season. The match finished in a 1-1 draw on July 3 at BMO Field. The Sounders have won seven of the 11 all-time meetings.

MAN OF THE MATCH 

Jozy Altidore scored TFC’s second goal of the night, but he was immense for the full 120 minutes. The American was making dangerous runs, he was involved in the buildup play and set up his teammates on a few occasions.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

In a match full of entertainment, Benoit Cheyrou‘s strike was clearly the moment to remember. The French midfielder entered the game in the 97th minute and less than 60 seconds later, he buried a header to seal TFC’s spot in the MLS Cup final.

MATCH TO FORGET

Despite the win, Drew Moor‘s performance was disappointing. The TFC defender has been solid throughout the year, but he was caught out of position on a few occasions on Wednesday night.

27 comments
    • Jason B

      Definitely! I was getting on to post that. He looked motivated, sharp, passionate and fit. Would love this guy to play for natl team!

      Like

      • quozzel

        For realz. He was still running guys into the ground in the 111th minute, and was by a bunch the most influential guy on the field the entire game.

        We’ve seen flashes; I have never seen him put it together for, well, 120 minutes like that, ever. Flat out beast and I never thought I’d be saying that about Altidore. Made Drogba look like a statue in comparison. Actually thought he was better than Giovinco tonight, another thing I never thought I’d say.

        Impressed. That was a true “10” performance, whoever was rating it. I didn’t know he could be that good but he surely was tonight.

        Where was that incessant energy and drive coming from? Never seen that kind of motor on Altidore before, ever. Honestly never really close. Guy willed his team to the victory almost single-handedly. That Jozy who was on the field tonight could play and feature for durn near anybody, at any level.

        Like

    • Gary Page

      Jozy has been in beast mode for about the last half dozen club games and tonight was the culmination. He showed speed, power, strength, and some technical ability as well. This is the Jozy we’ve been hoping for the last 5 or 6 years.

      Like

      • Davis, Lennon, Observer & Associates

        As I’ve been trying to explain for years, at the age of 26 this all makes sense for a big striker like him. Early he was. Quiver power guy that went over seas to grow his body and mind. Had some great success. Came back to domestic league and lit it up. Don’t rule out a move to Europe within the next year and a half

        Like

      • bizzy

        “Came back to domestic league and lit it up. Don’t rule out a move to Europe within the next year”

        Hahaha, DLOA (of course) let’s not get carried away from getting MOTM in an MLS conference final.
        Why would a club in Europe (worth mentioning) be interested in Altidore when they can have a Giovinco, a Bradley-Wright Philips, a battle proven Dom Dwyer, a younger, more explosive Jordan Morris or Cyle Larin??

        Altidore lit up what league???
        2016
        Bradley Wright Philips (yet to leave for the EPL or Championship)has 24 goals 5 assists
        David Villa (last game for spain was in 2014) has 23 goals 4 assists
        Sebastian Giovinco (Not good enough for Ventura and the Italian NT) has 17 goals 15 assists
        Dow Dwyer has 16 goals 3 assists
        Chris Pontious 12 goals 6 assists
        Jordan Morris 12 goals 4 assists
        Chris Wondolowski (who as had a bad season) 12 goals 3 assists

        …sooooo what is your definition of lighting up?? Leader in any stats or category?? Any “BEST OF SOMETHING” awards??? If this is Altidore “on fire” I’ll hate to see when he’s not….oh wait we already have. Sorry
        He is getting better as time goes on and improving as the player we all want him to be, but lets not over sell his performance on the field, especially after just attaining MOTM conference final

        Like

      • johnnyrazor

        Bizzy- Since July 1st, that’s even giving guys an extra three weeks before Jozy returned from his injury. Jozy has been the best striker in MLS since returning from injury and the best player in the playoffs. He carried Toronto this Summer when Johnson, Bradley and Giovinco were all injured and missed significant time.

        BWP: 16 goals 3 assists
        Jozy: 15 goals (+3 for USMNT) 7 assists
        Dom: 8 goals
        Villa: 12 goals
        Giovinco: 13 goals
        Jordan Morris: 9 goals
        Wondo:5 goals

        Liked by 1 person

      • johnnyrazor

        And as far as transfer values go (I don’t really see Jozy going anywhere other than maybe on three month loan somewhere)

        Wright Phillips is 31 and never had much success in Europe above League 1.

        Dwyer did receive interest from Olympiakos this Summer, but with a new baby and citizenship requirements a move for Dom is made more difficult.

        Giovinco could probably get a move to many clubs in Europe if he wants one, if he wants back with the Italian national team the manager has made it clear he needs to do that.

        Morris needs at least one more year to develop his technical skills for a realistic offer, he is improving, but isn’t at the technical level of a top 10 league in Europe. Because his base salary is low though wouldn’t be surprised to hear some rumors in January or next Summer from clubs looking for a deal.

        Larin has had offers if you believe the rumors he has the benefit of being 21 and the most upside of all the players you mentioned.

        So out of the six you mentioned including Jozy, he’d probably rate 2nd behind Giovinco, with Larin right behind then Morris, Dwyer and BWP.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bizzy

        Johnnyrazor

        “Wright Phillips is 31 and never had much success in Europe above League 1”
        True….and he is currently a better striker than a 4 year younger Altidore, 68 goals in 3 seasons

        “Dwyer did receive interest from Olympiakos this Summer”
        True…..and has produced 50 goals in 3 seasons. Again currently is a better striker than Altidore

        “Morris needs at least one more year to develop his technical skills for a realistic offer, he is improving, but isn’t at the technical level of a top 10 league in Europe.”
        Without any real play makers on the team the “Rookie of the Year” has rose to the challenge and delivered this season. No development that MLS can give is needed. Klinsmann witnessed him burning USMNT CBs in practice hence the reason he gave the kid a call up while still in college!!! And in his first league season he is the highest scoring American in MLS this season, tied with Pontius.

        There is no “the best striker in MLS since returning from injury” awards or best playoff player trophies. While other players were grinding it out, having good days and bad, he was sidelined. Physical conditioning is part of being an athlete so him being injury prone is on him. Secondly, he has not been the best at anything so far in this league. No Sebastian Giovinco = No TFC success. He has produced more goals and assists than Altidore and Bradley combined for 2 seasons in a row
        When it comes to Altidore, you (and a few known others) are so quick to put lipstick on a pig. But the truth of the matter is as much as he is improving and showing promise as a player he is nowhere near the “BEST AT ANYTHING” relating to striker in this league or worthy of any title.

        Like

      • bizzy

        Oh and I almost forgot …..Cyle Larin, 31 goals in the all but two seasons he’s been with the league (17 goals in his rookie year) and was part of an expansion team no less.

        “he’d probably rate 2nd behind Giovinco, with Larin right behind then Morris, Dwyer and BWP.”

        2nd to Giovinco in what? Goals? Assists? Larin has produce more goals than Altidore in those two seasons with Orlando (Hence better at his job), is way younger than Jozy Altidore (so has more room to grow) and has the same physical attributed as Altidore.

        Like

      • johnnyrazor

        Bizzy: I was responding to your questioning if Jozy would have any European interest. Giovinco would have the most, then Jozy, then Larin, then Morris, then BWP because of his age. Morris does not have the technical skill to move to a top league, he still gets away with things because he is more athletic than MLS defenders, he’s better than he was a year ago.

        I don’t really get the impression from Jozy he is interested in returning to Europe, but if he wanted to he would have better opportunities than the players you listed minus the Atomic Ant.

        Like

      • bizzy

        DLOA
        Math for goals per 90, since returning from injury, the best player in the playoffs hahahaha those are all terms that support mediocrity hence not factored in when considering a player for th golden boot (hahaha I wonder why)….and my math is on point, Larin scored more goals than Altidore in 2015 and 2016. simple
        .

        Like

      • bizzy

        “but if he wanted to he would have better opportunities than the players you listed”
        Johnnyrazor’
        I have to disagree with you there. Altidore was a failure in the EPL and couldn’t score goals to save his life in the EPL. He is now 27. Why would any team or coach take a risk with a player with a known record of failure, rather than invest in young talent with room to grow? Larin and Morris are on par with Altidore now in MLS (Have more goals to prove it) but are both 6 and 5 years younger respectively. They are both cheaper to attain with a lot more promise than Jozy. Altidore is not going anywhere significant in Europe at time soon, even if he wanted to….

        Like

      • bizzy

        also,
        Before Altidore was in a different league. The comparison was apples to oranges, now that is different. Same players same league same position. Its about putting goals in the back of the net. Period. Hence no coach in their right mind would leave a proven a league leading scorer with the attributes and sharpness of BWD and pick Altidore. So for a team that wants a player to come in and score NOW, Jozy would never be selected over the likes of Bradley Wright Philips

        Like

    • bizzy

      100+
      the last goal in extra time really showed that intensity. Turning his man, the move he made at the side line and the cross, IN EXTRA TIME!!!! Best Altidore preformance yet, in a game where it really really matters

      Like

  • g_dub

    I second the other posters on here, about Jozy’s “10” performance. The turn and delivery on the final goal to Rickets was Jozy at his finest. Strength on the turn, speed to power to the biline, and skill on the pass. Echoes of when he turned Puyols in the Confed Cup.

    Like

  • bizzy

    “MAN OF THE MATCH …Jozy Altidore scored TFC’s second goal of the night, but he was immense for the full 120 minutes. ”

    Let’s digest this for a minute. MOTM is who???? …Jozy immense??? (immense -extremely large or great, especially in scale or degree) ….for the full 120 minutes??? what the….OK the impossibles seem to be happening time and time again:

    Ronda Rausey gets knockout out
    Leicester City won the EPL
    Donald Trump becomes president of the United States
    …and now Altidore becomes MOTM in a game that had Giovinco, Bradley, Piatti, Mancosu etc

    With this kind of fire TFC / Sounders, with Jordan Morris and Jozy Altidore on display for the whole nation (and Bruce Arena lol) to see, will be a very good match

    Like

  • Rob

    LOL.
    The topic of the day is Altidore actually trying hard.
    It confirms what people have been saying about him all along.

    Like

    • Helium-3

      Yep, had he played every game for Sunderland/Hull like last night, he wouldn’t be playing in MLS now. It shows every fan that the players can raise the intensity when it matters. You don’t see it during the regular season because …

      He wanted it and was proactive with this movement. Didn’t wait for the ball like the old Jozy we’ve seen in England and past USMNT appearances.

      Like

  • jb

    This was the most entertaining MLS game I’ve seen. Despite whatever good/bad decisions the MLS owners/commissioner make, it ultimately boils down to the product on the field, and last night it was great. If these kind of games become more commonplace, the league will succeed.

    And yeah, Altidore was awesome. I couldn’t believe the power, speed, and energy he had in extra time. I’m blown away, and I’m really happy for him.

    Like

  • MTF

    Hey Piatti, so after the CONCACAF Champions League final and this Eastern Conference series, I can’t help but think that Montreal is ‘a weak playoff team.’

    Like

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