November 22, 2016
MLS PLAYOFF ROUNDUP
Impact, Sounders seize advantage in Conference Finals
MONTREAL IMPACT 3, TORONTO FC 2
MONTREAL--Just when it looked like the Montreal Impact were going to run away with the first league of the Eastern Conference championship, Toronto FC came up with a pair of late road goals and trim the Impact's lead to 3-2 Tuesday night at sold-out Stade Olympique.
The result means that the favored Reds can book their tickets to the MLS Cup final with a 1-0 win in next Wednesday's (Nov. 30) second leg at BMO Field.
Tuesday's match was delayed after it was determined that the penalty areas were too small and had to be re-lined. When the opening whistle finally blew, the Impact roared out to a quick 2-0 lead on goals by Dominic Oduro in the tenth minute and Matteo Mancosu two minutes later.
Both goals resulted from lax defending on Toronto's part. Oduro's goal started on the far side of midfield with Jonathan Osorio, who had a clear line to pass the ball through the center to Patrice Bernier. Bernier in turn found Oduro streaking down the right side, and the Impact speedster charged into the penalty area to slot a low shot past netminder Clint Irwin.
Oduro set Mancosu's scoring play in motion by picking off defender Steven Beitashour's poorly-considered header and passing left to Ignacio PIatti. Piatti sent the ball back through the penalty area to Mancosu for the straightforward finish.
Toronto's Sebastian Giovinco, who had scored in TFC's previous four playoff games, had a solid chance to put the Reds on the board in the 20th minute, but sent his open shot well wide of the left post.
Ambroise Oyongo made the score 3-0 in the 53rd minute, stealing the ball from Giovinco and dribbling in 35 yards before unleashing a shot from the top of the arc.
The tide turned dramatically in the 68th minute, when Toronto's Jozy Altidore headed Giovinco's looped pass into the Montreal net. Five minutes later, Altidore outdueled defender Victor Cabrera near the top of the penalty area and centered a quick pass to substitute Tosaint Ricketts, who swept it back to Michael Bradley for the finish.
Altidore had a golden chance to tie the score in the 80th minute, but his half-volley went into the left outside netting.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 2, COLORADO RAPIDS 1
SEATTLE--Major League Soccer's Rookie of the Year and Newcomer of the Year teamed to give Seattle Sounders FC a 2-1 first leg win over the Colorado Rapids in Tuesday night's Western Conference Championship match at CenturyLink Field.
Kevin Doyle broke the ice for Colorado in the 13th minute, with a looping shot from just side the penalty area.
Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris, making an unexpected return after suffering a hamstring strain in the Sounders' November 7 conference semifinal against FC Dallas, leveled the score seven minutes later, catching the rebound after Cristian Roldan's low 20-yard attempt caromed off the left post.
Lodeiro, the league's Newcomer of the Year, gave Seattle a 2-1 lead by burying a 61st-minute penalty kick after being fouled by defender Marc Burch.
The Rapids host the second leg Sunday (Nov. 27) at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.