Montreal Impact 3, Toronto FC 2 | 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Match Recap
Two teams haven't slowed the Montreal Impact during the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs, and a 30-minute delay against the third couldn't either – but two stars and a few bad bounces managed to gum up the works.
Yes, an Olympic Stadium "field maintenance issue" – the technician boxes on both sides needed to be repainted – pushed the scheduled 8:08 pm ET kickoff and forced a second warmup for the two sides. But Montreal still stormed to a three-goal lead before a sold-out crowd of 61,004, ultimately hanging on for a 3-2 home victory over rival Toronto FC.
In the 10th minute, Impact icon Patrice Bernier took a touch at the top of the midfield circle, pivoted and passed – directly into the path of speedy forward Dominic Oduro, who rocketed ahead and fired clean past Toronto 'keeper Clint Irwin to open the scoring.
And just two minutes later, a flubbed clearance went to Oduro at the top of the 18-yard box; he played wide to Ignacio Piatti, whose one-touch cross lead Matteo Mancosu directly into a volley that put TFC on their heels.
By the time Ambroise Oyongo ran 35 second-half yards unimpeded before skipping a grass-cutter beyond Irwin's reach, the outcome felt foregone – though Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley pulled back a pair of crucial away goals during a five-minute span in the final half-hour. The teams meet again Wednesday, November 30 at BMO Field in Toronto (7pm ET; FS1 | TSN, RDS in Canada).
- 10' – MTL – Dominic Oduro (Patrice Bernier)
- 12' – MTL – Matteo Mancosu (Ignacio Piatti, Dominic Oduro)
- 53' – MTL – Ambroise Oyongo (Patrice Bernier)
- 68' – TOR – Jozy Altidore (Sebastian Giovinco, Steven Beitashour)
- 73' – TOR – Michael Bradley (Tosaint Ricketts, Jozy Altidore)
- Full Box Score
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- THE DELAY So this happened:
Not a good look. Joey Saputo knows; credit where it's due for taking that L on national TV. Yet the match kicked, and it was business as usual for this early-impact Montreal squad, who scored first for the fourth time in four playoff games during this run. If they do that again in Toronto, the Reds will remain on their heels.
- DESIGNATED PLAYERS, PROVEN WORTH: For all their first-hour struggles, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley came through in the super clutch. With Toronto's tattered hopes hanging by a thread, Altidore headed home the icebreaker and was in full holdup beast mode five minutes later, creating the space for Tosaint Ricketts' clean assist to set up.
Guys like that, chances like those? Game, set, match.
- WHERE FROM HERE? Let's be real, and acknowledge those away goals are no joke. An achievable clean sheet for Toronto at raucous BMO, and the Reds advance towards that first MLS Cup for Canada with a single score. But if Montreal continue to apply the early counters, it'll take two from the home squad to match the aggregate of every Impact strike. After what we just witnessed, all possibilities are in play.
They Said It
good lord, I’m a puddle— Daniel Squizzato (@DanielSquizzato) November 23, 2016
- TOR-MTL: Eastern Conference Championship 2nd Leg (Wednesday 11/30, 7pm ET; FS1 | TSN, RDS in Canada)