Nick DeLeon #18 of Toronto FC dribbles at midfield. (Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images).
6. An unlikely goal from Nick DeLeon
I know, I know, more recency bias, but Nick DeLeon’s stunning strike to vanquish Atlanta United and book Toronto FC their third berth in MLS Cup must be included.
Brought over from D.C. United for the start of the 2019 season, DeLeon was somewhat of a super-sub for the Reds during the playoffs. He even came off the bench to net a screamer against his former side in TFC’s first-round thumping of the Black-and-Red.
He logged 25 more minutes in the next round against NYC FC, but his 36 minutes of match time against Atlanta would prove to be the spell that would write him into TFC lore. Locked in a 1-1 draw, DeLeon received a harmless looking pass a few yards back of the penalty area.
Immediately, two Atlanta defenders collapsed upon the Arizona native, impeding his view of the goal. He retreated, and both defenders backed off, believing their job to be done.
It wasn’t – DeLeon sensed the wink of space and sent a laser of a shot past the outstretched arm of US international goalkeeper Brad Guzan. TFC saw out the last 12 minutes and punched their tickets for a trilogy bout with the Seattle Sounders.