November 30th was the second leg between the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC. The game was being played at BMO Field in Toronto, as Montreal hosted the first match of the series. Many broadcasters and insiders were predicting a very tight, but open scoring match. And boy, were they spot on. Not only was history bound to be created after the final whistle of the game, as the first Canadian team to reach the MLS final would be revealed, but we also got a hell of a goal fest spectacle. The Impact were leading 3-2 on aggregate, thanks to their victory in the first leg, which meant a tie and obviously a victory in this game would have been enough to see them through, and book them a spot in the final against the Seattle Sounders. Toronto needed to win no matter what, and to force overtime they would need to replicate the same exact score Montreal won by in the first match. Now, you might all be thinking, that’s nearly impossible that there would be overtime in an extremely exciting and never before seen series like this one; well think again! Not only was this game an entertaining extravaganza, but it also ended up finishing in extra time. Sadly things didn’t go as planned for all the Impact supporters out there, including myself.
The game started off with a bang, as pacey winger Dominic Oduro put the Impact on the board after 24 minutes, with a nice passing play from Patrice Bernier and Matteo Mancosu. The lead only lasted a good 13 minutes, as Armando Cooper replied off of a terrible defended corner by the Impact. And this horrific defense would hurt them plenty in this match, as the second and third goals for Toronto Fc were scored off set plays. It was a wild rainy night, the Toronto fans going absolutely crazy as they truly believed they had the Impact in the bag. The final score at the end of the encounter was 3-2, which meant that, surprisingly, we were going into extra time, as the aggregate score was 5-5. After a completely chaotic match with leads shifting, ups and downs for both teams, we were heading into extra innings. The drama was real. Toronto FC had the upper edge, dominating most of the match, being the more physical and determined side (in my opinion). Plus, they had their supports chanting and just enjoying this outstanding show these two teams were putting on. To make it even worse for the Impact, they were having constant trouble containing the Toronto attack, especially on set plays, as they conceded three goals off of corners, goals that were extremely costly and very avoidable. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be for the Impact, as they conceded two goals in quick succession in overtime, in the 98th and 100th minute; again, one of them off a set play. After taking a resounding 5-2 lead, Toronto sealed the deal and booked their ticket for the final against the Sounders. Luckily for them, they even get the opportunity to host this prestigious final, in front of their home supporters, and have the chance to make Canadian soccer history. As for the Impact, they will really need to work on their defensive work, their set plays and definitely take a look at their roster, as they’re not getting any younger and it showed in this performance, as they were outplayed on every level by Toronto.
In the end, it was a good ride for the Impact, having a very successful season, making it further than they’ve ever done in the playoffs, entertaining us supporters all season long. Sadly, they were so close to attaining their overall goal, but they’ll just have to restart next season; and I know that they will do damage in this league next year.
Written by: Brandon Brini