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Scotty

Toronto FC - Playoffs

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I have tried to keep my TFC comments out of the main ICT threads, sometimes successfully, sometimes not .... but its time for a separate thread after last night ....

TFC reached the MLS playoffs for the second year in a row a few weeks ago. Last year the adventure ended after a single game, a 3-0 defeat in Montreal where Didier Drogba marshalled his troops and TFC were played off the park. As they say over here it was "one and done" !!

This year, TFC will actually play Montreal home and away for the right to challenge either Seattle or Colorado in the MLS Cup Final. This will be the first time a Canadian team will have reached the MLS Cup Final. TFC got this far after first dumping Philadelphia out of the playoffs 3-1 in the knockout round, then winning the two-legged conference semi-final against NYC FC by an aggregate score of 7-0 !!!!  Last night was a 5-0 demolition of NYC - 1/2 owned by Manchester City and 1/2 owned by the New York Yankees - who boast Frank Lampard, David Villa and Andrea Pirlo in their ranks !!! They were no match for Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore who, along with the rest of the team ripped them apart ..... in their own stadium !

Looking forward to the Montreal tie ... Toronto/Montreal is a fierce rivalry in any sport and football is no different. This year Drogba is reduced to a bit part player although he did play on the weekend when they knocked out Bradley Wright-Phllips and the New York Red Bulls. The talisman for them this year is Argentinian Ignacio Piatti who can pop up and score seemingly from anywhere but Drogba can still be dangerous. 

Enough talk - here's the highlights reels !!!  I was at both games in Toronto and the atmosphere was electric !!!  Could not make it to New York yesterday as I wouldnt get back in time for work today but considering going to Montreal which is "only" a 6 hour drive and already bought my tickets for the 2nd leg in Toronto !!! If Seattle can beat Colorado and TFC can beat Montreal the final will be in Toronto !!!

 

TFC 3-1 Philadelphia 
Eastern Conference Playoff 1st Rd 

 

TFC 2-0 New York City FC 
Eastern Conference Playoff Semi-Final 1st leg

 

New York City FC  0-5 TFC 
Eastern Conference Playoff Semi-Final 2nd leg

 

 

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And so to tonight ........ 

TFC will play Montreal for a place in the MLS Cup final against the Seattle Sounders who put out the Colorado Rapids at the weekend. If TFC win through the final will be in Toronto on December 10th, if Montreal prevail the final will be in Seattle. (location is based on which team had the higher points total in the season). 

TFC trail 3-2 to Montreal after last weeks game in Montreal which was played on a sh1tty astroturf pitch they couldn't even mark the lines on properly .... really groundsman, you had ONE job !!! TFC were 3-0 down at one point until Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley pegged things back to 3-2. A little controversy in this one as Sebastian Giovinco spent the whole night being targetted with a laser pen yet no-one was apprehended. They even mention it in the commentary !!! I guess the stewards were as good as the groundsman !

With the away goals rule in effect its a very winnable game provided TFC can score at least once and that has not been a problem this year ..... Last week's game set a few records, not least the highest attendance in a domestic game in Canada with 61,004 present at the "Big O" (Olympique Stadium) in Montreal. Tonight at BMO Field, where there is a temporary second tier above the supporters section, there will be a capacity' crowd of 37,000+ and the atmosphere is going to be electric !   Really looking forward to it ... hope I am still enthused about things tomorrow rather than disconsolate !

 

Here's last weeks highlights : (and for those that wonder about the Scottish co-commentator - its former TFC captain Steven Caldwell). 

 

 

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Alan Frew recorded a TFC version of this in season 1 for TFC ... time to resurrect it for a day or two

 

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Pretty amazing night last night !!! The final score was 3-2 to Toronto so 5-5 on aggregate. Toronto then scored twice in extra-time to win it and progress to the MLS Cup Final which will take place on the 10th here in Toronto :)

Atmosphere was amazing. Heres a few videos I took last night. 

Pre-Game

 

 

Crowd goes nuts after Jozy Altidore scores first of the night for TFC to tie it up 3-3 on aggregate and lead on away goals. 

 

After Montreal score twice, TFC fans celebrate as TFC make it 3-2 on the night and 5-5 on aggregate

 

Fans in good voice after a quickfire double in extra time sees TFC lead 5-2 on the night and 7-5 on aggregate. 

 

Full Time approaches. TFC reach MLS Final

 

TFC -V- MTL Eastern Conference Final  - TFC presented with the Eastern Conference Trophy

 

 

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the official highlights : what  a game !

 

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The final tomorrow is live on SkySports 3 for anyone interested in staying up until 1AM !

 

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Fell at the final hurdle in front of 36,000 screaming fans in the bitter cold (-10) :cry: Seattle didn't have a single shot on goal and only 3 attempts total, but the inspired form of their keeper Stefan Frei - who had been a TFC regular for 5 years until going to Seattle in 2013 - kept them in it all the way to the end of normal time (0-0) then extra time (0-0) ... He saved one penalty in the shootout, as did the TFC keeper but then on penalty #6 the TFC player hit the bar and Seattle scored to win it !!! A pretty horrible end to a great season .. but hopefully TFC can retain most of the squad in the off season and go into next season hoping to go one better ! 

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Pulsating  match from start to finish. Two very well matched teams. A real chess game of football.

Toronto was very prominent in the attacking role and Seattle did an absolutely fantastic skilled an obviously highly coached job of defending. Their Manager had his team set-up to a "T"  expecting wave after wave of attacks and preventing any real super shots directly on goal.

Seattle's goalie made a fantastic, desperate, finger tip save  to thwart a great header by Toronto which seemed sure to be going in the net. Had Toronto scored atb this point in the game then it seems inevitable that they would have been able to go on to win this match. And that more or less finished  their push to win. The crowd were stunned by this save but I'm sure they were all as awe struck by the keeper's ability to recover from a near fall and his abllity to even get his fingers near the ball, as  were  myself and the T.V commentator.  

The shoot out with penalty kicks was  a heart-in -the mouth affair and the agony of the Toronto player when he hit the underside of the bar and therefore missed  the opportunity of winning the game was heartfelt all over the stadium.

The pitch was in tip top condition despite the freezing temperatures and also looked great. Under  the carpet heating etc. did its job and the pitch did look in superb shape. Kudos to the ground staff who clearly had worked their butts off to get it  suitable for this match in well below freezing temperatures.

Suffice it to say that nobody left before the final whistle but the stadium emptied very quickly of Toronto fans at that point.

I also enjoyed the cup-hand-over ceremony and the obvious delirium of the 1500 or so Seattle fans who braved the elements to fly over 2000 miles for this match. Somebody had to win and the Americans  had their tactics spot on to turn back wave after wave of red shirts.

All together a fine, absorbing match. And all the fans seemed to be very well behaved.:clapoverhead::wave:

 

 

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