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Toronto FC Finally Did It, And They Did It Their Way

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The playoffs are around the corner for Toronto FC, and with tonight's match there is a good chance a playoff match will be played it Toronto as well.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

At the Rogers Centre there was an all out party, whereas at BMO Field there was an intimate atmosphere as Toronto FC clinched their first ever playoff spot. Only a little over 18,000 were there to celebrate, but that doesn't mean it wasn't an incredible celebration.

It was also evident of the new look Toronto FC. All they needed was a draw against the league leading New York Red Bulls in order to claim their first ever playoff spot. Instead, they went out and got a convincing 2-1 win.

By the time the song "At Last" by Etta James was being blasted over the stadium's PA system, the long suffering south end of BMO Field had flooded into the area just in front of the field, chanting their hearts out.

A lone player stood in front of them on the field, Canadian Jonathan Osorio. If anyone understood this moment, it was the hometown boy who had been in the stands on more than a few occasions while growing up.

"I could feel it throughout the game as the game got closer to the final whistle," Greg Vanney said of the atmosphere in the stadium. "We will enjoy it, not quite as much as the Blue Jays did, but we will enjoy it."

Entering the locker room after the match, there was definitely excitement, especially among those who truly understood what this meant. But other than the music blaring a little bit louder, and the smiles a touch wider, there was nothing extravagant about the TFC celebration.

For them, this match is only a stepping stone to their next goal, locking up a first round home playoff game. Tonight's win certainly helped, for the time being Toronto FC are in second place in the Eastern Conference.

If Toronto FC stay in this position, they would skip the play-in game round of the MLS playoffs and go straight to the home and away Conference semi-finals.

"We are shooting to get ourselves in the bye category if we can, so that we have a little more rest time, and preparation time for our first series," explained Greg Vanney after the match.

The defining moment came late in the second half, when Sebastian Giovinco was surprisingly subbed on despite having only landed in Toronto at 3:45 PM because he played yesterday for the Italian national team against Norway.

There were no signs of jet lag on Giovinco, however, as eight minutes after he was introduced he turned two New York Red Bull defenders and sent a looping shot into the net to give Toronto a 2-0 that turned out to be insurmountable.

"Very timely, and very happy that he was adamant over the course of the week that he wanted to come back and play," said Greg Vanney. "To be fair, I don't know if I would have thrown him out there, but he really wanted to play and he's a difference maker."

He went on to say that it proved how committed Giovinco is to the team, something that has been an issue in the past for the club's designate players.

For Giovinco, there was never any doubt that he was going to play, even with the amount of travel time that was required to make it happen.

"This was a really important game for the city, for the team, for everyone," Giovinco said through a translator. "I knew it, and I tried to just be available for everyone, and I wanted to play because I was feeling it."

Lost in the scheme of things was the unlikely hero of the night: Herculez Gomez. The Major League Soccer journeyman was making only his second start of the match for Toronto FC, but made the difference when he scored minutes into the second half.

"For the fans I know it has been a long time, nine years, so to finally get this going, to make history it feels pretty damn good," said Gomez. "To be a part of it I couldn't have asked for more."

For a veteran like Gomez, however, there was little reflection on the moment. It was on to the next task, and the more important one for him if he wants to finally prove all his doubters wrong.

"That was a playoff game," said Gomez of how the game played out. "I've been in a lot of playoff situations and that's what they're like, and we put together quite an inspired performance."

The lone dark spot on the game for Toronto FC was a sending off from the bench for Jozy Altidore, who as of right now will miss this weekend's game against the Columbus Crew.

The referees did not give much of a comment after the match, but said it was as a result of language directed at the assistant referee. Greg Vanney was not happy about it after the match but said it was "a little soft" in his opinion.

For the club, this was the first hurdle which right now looks like it will lead to bigger and better things. It wasn't perfect, but for those who have suffered along with this club for nine years, it was nonetheless special.