Toronto FC win the Eastern Conference against the Crew

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 29: Michael Bradley
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 29: Michael Bradley /

Toronto FC are through to their second consecutive MLS Cup final, after a tense and absorbing 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew.

Jozy Altidore’s return was critical for Toronto FC. The striker suffered what looked to be an ankle injury, but again returned to action and scored the goal that won the Eastern Conference.

Toronto will play either the Houston Dynamo or the Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup Final. The Sounders hold a commanding 2-0 lead over the Dynamo, as the tie heads back to the Pacific Northwest.

The best part of the Reds’ victory is that the final match of the 2017 season will be played in front of a packed house at BMO Field.

Starting XI

Match Recap

It was another contest that again started in the opposition’s favor at BMO Field. Columbus pushed their whole squad forward while trying to isolate Michael Bradley in the middle. Eventually, Greg Vanney had to place Jonathan Osorio alongside the skipper, but that only lasted for a period of time.

Sebastian Giovinco was given an opportunity to utilize his magical ability at taking free kicks early on in the opening frame. Giovinco’s shot was blocked by the wall. The Crew went on to hog possession again, after the Atomic Ant’s attempt.

Columbus created some magic of their own by working the ball forward towards Justin Meram. Meram got into the box all alone, until Bradley sprinted about 20 yards to slide tackle the ball away from the attacker.

Victor Vazquez sent in a corner that went over the box, but the attention was centered towards the middle. Drew Moor was dragged down by Crew defender Josh Williams, which resulted in the official awarding TFC their first penalty. Vazquez would step up to take the shot, but Zach Steffen denied it brilliantly to keep the score at 0-0.

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Altidore got tangled up with Jonathan Mensah in the second half. The American went to the ground holding his ankle, resulting in him missing several minutes of play.

Altidore toughed it out though and came back in time to open the scoring. Alex Bono sent the ball deep, which eventually got corralled by Giovinco. The Italian played a nice back heel to the feet of Vazquez, who sent in Altidore. The 28-year-old hit it first time into the bottom left as the 30,000 in BMO Field erupted.

The Crew were starting to get desperate towards the final minutes of the game, as the Reds tried to hold onto the ball for as long as they could.

Columbus would get their best chance of the game just before stoppage time, as a cross was sent in right in front of Bono. The ball took a couple of deflections before falling to Ola Kamara who had a yawning net in front of him, but couldn’t get a touch on it.

Toronto FC knocked the ball around for the final minutes and eventually the whistle blew, guaranteeing the Reds a berth in the MLS Cup Final.

Key Stats

Columbus Crew

  • 11 total shots; 7 open play and 4 set piece
  • 82 percent pass success rate
  • 21 tackles
  • 47% possession
  • Key Player: Zach Steffen

Toronto FC

  • 9 shots; 6 on target
  • 86 percent pass success rate
  • 14 tackles
  • 53% possession
  • Key Player: Drew Moor

Next: Greg Vanney wins MLS Coach of the Year

How do Toronto FC prepare for the MLS Cup final? Who do you think they will play in the championship? Let us know in the comments below.