Toronto FC has made a massive upset by defeating New York City FC in the quarterfinals of the MLS playoffs. The final result was 2-1 for the guests from Canada who are now very close to reaching another MLS Cup finals. The hero of the match was Alejandro Pozuelo, who netted both goals for the visiting side, the winning one by converting a late penalty.
Now, that is something which comes as a huge success for Toronto, who wasn’t among the favorites for taking the trophy.
“Listen, at the end of (Thursday) night, there’ll be four teams left. Four teams that get to still train and play real games,” said Toronto captain Michael Bradley. “And we’re one of them. And that part’s exciting.”
Although just a few believed in Greg Vanney’s boys, who were much better than the hosts. Without hesitation, that it wouldn’t be fair if the Canadians lost this one. Especially following the first 45 minutes, and all the chances missed in that part of the game.
Back then, Toronto had four shots on goal, compared to only one of the hosts, and was dominating the field. Still, they couldn’t score due to the fantastic saves of the hosts’ goalkeeper, Sean Johnson. He stopped all four shots and looked unbeatable.
But that ended just two minutes into the second half, once Alejandro Pozuelo used one big mistake of the NYCFC’s defender Maxime Chanot, who wanted to head back the ball to Johnson, but misjudged the situation and handed the ball to Pozuelo. The Spaniard welcomed the gift with his open arms and sent it straight into the net to shock the home team.
From that moment on, Toronto went back and began defending, which didn’t prove to be a smart decision. NYCFC quickly took over the command of the field, making a lot of problems, and eventually, the goal came. Maximiliano Moralez‘s cross found Ismael Tajouri-Shardi’s on the far post, for 1-1, and additional drama.
NYCFC was extremely dangerous, and the momentum was on their side. Toronto was in trouble after the goal, which forced Vaney to react. He sent Richie Laryea on the field, and that turned out to be a jackpot. Laryea got the penalty after being tripped by Ronald Matarrita, and Pozuelo routinely beat Johnson.
It was the 90th minute of the match.
But the situation was far from over, as New York had one last chance in the fifth minute of the stoppage time. Valentin Castellanos had a superb opportunity to tie the result, but Quentin Westberg saved the guests, denying that effort.
This was the 12th straight game of the Canadian side in which they haven’t lost. With six wins and six draws, it seems that they raised the form in the best possible moment.
“The mentality is really strong on this team. The work rate is really strong there; the quality is there. They believe in themselves. And anything’s possible when all those things fit together,” he said.
Toronto awaits the better from the clash between Atlanta and Philadelphia.