Toronto FC 1, Columbus Crew SC 0 | MLS Cup Playoffs Recap
Toronto FC had the most points in the history of the regular season and on Wednesday night they ensured that they will have a chance to lift another trophy, defeating Columbus Crew SC 1-0 in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship.
Jozy Altidore proved to be the hero for the home side, scoring the game-winning goal in the 60th minute. The US national team forward injured his ankle in the 49th minute and was in and out of the match before scoring the goal. Altidore subsequently left the match in the 68th minute.
Columbus proved to be up for the challenge, thanks to a tactical change from head coach Gregg Berhalter, but failed to convert any of their chances against a staunch TFC. Ola Kamara had a chance in the 87th minute, after an Adam Jahn flick-on from a cross, but saw the ball go through his legs in front of net
The win puts Toronto through to MLS Cup, which they will host against the Seattle Sounders or Houston Dynamo on December 9 (4 pm ET; ESPN, UniMás in US | TSN, TVAS in Canada). It will be the second-straight year that they will host the MLS Cup final.
- 60' - TOR - Jozy Altidore Watch
- MOMENT OF REDEMPTION: It’s been a trying month for Altidore, having been on the field as the US were eliminated from the 2018 World Cup and been suspended for the first leg of the Eastern Conference Championship against Columbus. Things looked to go from bad to worse for Altidore, with it looking likely he would have to leave the match at the beginning of the second half, but he was able to provide the ultimate decider. After quality holdup play from Sebastian Giovinco, Altidore played a give-and-go with Victor Vazquez and placed the ball in the far side of goal to beat Crew SC ‘keeper Zack Steffen. The goal was his seventh all-time in the playoffs.
- MAD GENIUS: Much has been said about Gregg Berhalter’s tactical savvy in recent weeks and he showed again why he’s one of top tactical minds in MLS on Wednesday night. Instead of trotting his usual 4-2-3-1, Berhalter turned to a 3-4-2-1 formation that flustered Toronto in the first half. The switch effectively cut off service to Altidore and Giovinco and clogged up the midfield.
- STEFFEN, THE ALMOST SAVIOR: Steffen has been the best player in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs and he almost proved to be the hero in the second leg. The 22-year-old saved his third penalty kick of the playoffs, including two in the shootout against Atlanta United, when he saved Vazquez’ penalty in the 26th minute to keep it scoreless.
- TOR: MLS Cup, Saturday Dec. 9 (4 pm ET; ESPN, UniMás in US | TSN, TVAS in Canada)
- CLB: End of season.