Daniel Rios was Nashville SC’s first signing before the club made the move to MLS and the forward delivered in the team’s biggest match to date.
Rios scored the winning goal for Gary Smith’s side on Tuesday night as Nashville SC eliminated Toronto 1-0 in extra time at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. It was the second shutout win for Nashville in the playoffs
Hany Mukhtar created the opportunity in the 107th minute, driving into the box and forcing Quentin Westberg into a good save, but Rios was on the spot to slide home the rebound.
Mukhtar and Walker Zimmerman both had golden chances before stoppage time to win the match, but Westberg came up big for Toronto FC. Westberg pushed Mukhtar’s header off the crossbar in the 89th minute before smothering Zimmerman’s close range effort off a corner kick.
Jhonder Cadiz looked to have given Nashville the lead earlier in the half, but was ruled offsides after beating Westberg from close range. Alex Muyl and Daniel Lovitz also had good offensive looks, but nothing to truly test Westberg who finished with six saves on the night.
Toronto FC was held to only one shot in the second-half, with Jozy Altidore having the best chance on goal. Joe Willis was up to the task on several occasions in the first half, denying Nick DeLeon from inside of the box before also repelling the midfielder’s dangerous cross from reaching Altidore earlier in the half.
Despite a 62%-to-38% possession advantage, Toronto FC struggled to test Willis in the second half and saw their postseason hopes ended after one match.
Nashville SC will now travel to face the third-seeded Columbus Crew on November 29th.
Man of the Match
Dax McCarty was sensational in midfield for Nashville, helping shut down Alejandro Pozuelo and putting in a lot of work defensively for the team.
Moment of the Match
Toronto FC had one final chance to tie things up in the 120th minute, but Ayo Akinola’s backheel flick from close range was kick saved by Willis.
Match to Forget
Pozuelo put in one of his poorest performances for Toronto FC this season, failing to record a shot on goal and losing possession four times, the most by any player on the field.