Toronto Football Club advances to MLS Cup Final

Published On November 30, 2017 | By Fatima Khan | Sports

By: Joseph Amodio

Toronto FC is heading back to the Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup Final once again after they beat the Columbus Crew 1-0 on aggregate.

TFC hardly dominated in the playoffs against the Crew. They were awarded a penalty that was denied by goalkeeper Zack Steffen in the 25th minute and couldn’t beat the keeper through 150 minutes of play.

Jozy Altidore finally broke the deadlock when he was assisted by a perfect pass by TFC midfielder Victor Vazquez to a hobbling Altidore who was dealing with an ankle injury that he sustained during the match.

Despite Altidore’s injury, he was able to score the crucial goal to lift TFC over Columbus Crew.

“I had a problem with this ankle at the beginning of the year. I felt it the whole time. These moments are what you live for,” the American striker said about his goal in a post-game interview with Kristian Jack.

Altidore got tangled up in the box with Crew defender Harrison Afful and looked to be in obvious discomfort, even during the moments leading up to his huge goal. The pain became too much and he was eventually forced to ask head coach Greg Vanney to be substituted in the 67th minute.

He also assured fans that he would never miss his team’s final match for the MLS title, despite his ankle injury.

“I am playing in the MLS Cup Final game. You aren’t taking that away from me,” Altidore said.

Allan Singh, a contributor to TFC blog, Waking The Red, said Altidore must be in the lineup despite an ankle injury.

“He needs to be there given the fact that he scored the goal that got them into the final. He needs to be there because of the relationship he has with Giovinco. These guys feed off each other very well. He needs to be there even if they have to give him cortisone shots or freeze his ankle to the point where he can’t feel anything,” Singh said.

The Reds continue to pile on accolades to their fairytale 2017 season. They broke the MLS regular season point record, they are conference champions and have the chance to lift the MLS Cup.

To cap off the season TFC might also get a rematch of the 2016 MLS Cup Final game against the Seattle Sounders when they lost in a shootout.

TFC will find out if they meet Seattle or Houston in the finals after the two teams play their second leg on Nov. 30 at 10:30 p.m. Seattle looks to have the upper hand with a 2-0 aggregate lead over the Dynamos in Houston.

Singh believes Seattle could be a handful for TFC.

“They are an offensive threat and a defensive menace and they are deeper then they were last year. Right now they are firing on all cylinders. Unlike playing Columbus who looked to hit on the counter if they could, you’re going to have a team thats much better at controlling the ball and when they get their chances they will finish,” Singh said.

Eriq Zavaleta, a centre back for TFC, said the team has been waiting to return to the MLS final.

“We’ve been dreaming of getting ready for a final again for a long time so it’s nice to finally have it here and achieve another goal along our trip to the MLS Cup,” Zavaleta said in a post-game interview.

The final will be played at BMO Field on Dec. 9 at 4:00 p.m.

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