Toronto to play Seattle in MLS final after beating Impact
TORONTO, Nov 30 (The Sports Xchange) - Benoit Cheyrou and Tosaint Ricketts scored in extra time as Toronto FC beat Montreal Impact 5-2 in the second leg of the Major League Soccer (MLS) Eastern Conference final on Wednesday, sealing a 7-5 aggregate victory.
Toronto advanced to its first MLS Cup final, which it will host Dec. 10 against the Western Conference champion Seattle Sounders.
Toronto is the first Canadian team to reach the MLS title game.
Two extra-time halves of 15 minutes each became necessary after Toronto held a 3-2 lead at the end of 90 minutes. Montreal earned a home win by the same score on Nov. 22 in the first leg.
In the 97th minute, Cheyrou entered the game when Sebastian Giovinco came off injured. Moments later, Cheyrou headed in a cross from Steven Beitashour and sent the 36,000 fans at BMO Field into delirium.
Ricketts, himself a substitute, was in the right place to redirect a Jozy Altidore cross from close range two minutes after Cheyrou's goal.
The extra time became necessary when Toronto defender Nick Hagglund's powerful header on a set piece following a corner kick gave Toronto a 3-2 lead in the 68th minute and tied the aggregate score at 5-5.
After trailing 2-1 at halftime, Montreal tied the contest on an Ignacio Piatti goal in the 53rd minute. Piatti charged through the Toronto back line on the right side and shrugged off Hagglund while stumbling before getting off a shot that eluded Toronto goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
Earlier, in the 24th minute, former Toronto's Dominic Oduro haunted his former club for the second straight game. Oduro opened the scoring last week in Montreal and did the same again when he converted a Matteo Mancosu pass to give Montreal a two-goal aggregate advantage.
Toronto got one back when a Hagglund header off a corner was cleared off the line but only as far as Armando Cooper, who scored from close range in the 37th minute.
Altidore gave Toronto an invaluable second goal on the stroke of halftime when he scored with a near post header from a Giovinco corner.