Toronto shocked soccer markets everywhere and delivered an upset for the ages in the Play Off semi-finals, booking their place in the Eastern Conference final after beating New York City FC 1-2 at City Field.
New York might have been the no.1 seed in the East going into this game, but this match would eventually mark the fourth straight year of semi-final losses for the Cityzens. Toronto might have needed extra-time to run riot against D.C., but they looked every bit a champion during this match; dominating large periods of the game and putting NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson through the ringer a couple of times before finding the opener thanks to some erratic defending by Maxime Chanot in minute 47.
This was the best New York side the MLS has ever seen and they quickly pushed on in search of the equaliser, which they eventually found in the 69th minute from Ismael Tajouri-Shradi. From there, NYCFC fans might have been forgiven for thinking their side were on the verge of a historic and memorable comeback.
Alas, sadly not. In what can only be described as a moment of absolute madness, Cityzen defender Ronald Matarrita chopped down Richie Laryea in the Blues’ box, giving away a penalty in the dying moments of the game. Alejandro Pozuelo stepped up to the spot and tucked away a cheeky panenka penalty, sealing the game in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Before their game against D.C. in round one, Toronto were +2500 in most soccer odds and predictions. They now find themselves in the Eastern final and at +600 to lift the Cup on November 10th, a massive rise in their stock that some sports fans might find a little too tempting to ignore now. Toronto’s next challenge comes up against Frank De Boer’s Atlanta United on October 30th at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.