Toronto FC will not be repeating as Trillium Cup champions as they failed to beat the Columbus Crew for the third time this season. However, the trophy they can live without, the impact it could have on their playoff position will be the far bigger sting.
Goals from Federico Higuain and Ethan Finlay mean the Columbus Crew now pass Toronto in the standings. That fall could be even further if other results don't go Toronto's way later today.
After both sides spent some time locked in a defensive battle, the Crew struck first. A corner kick late in the half found its way to Ethan Finlay who easily slotted it into the back of the Toronto net. It was Finlay's 10th goal of the season, and gave his side a 1-0 lead.
That lead held heading into halftime, as Toronto did little to break down a well disciplined Crew backline, who were doing a good job of sitting back and absorbing pressure.
This continued to start the second half as TFC failed to get much service to Sebastian Giovinco up top, who looked poor even when they were able to play the ball in his direction.
Looking to chance things up, Greg Vanney made a double offensive substitution in the 64th minute: bringing on strikers Luke Moore and Herculez Gomez to try and jump start the team's dormant attack.
From a formation standpoint, this improved the Toronto attack as they had more players in attacking positions, but it hardly changed the course of the game as Columbus continued to dominate.
In the fleeting moments of the game Toronto got a few more chances as the Crew sat back and tried to preserve what was for them also a crucial lead, but there was nothing substantial.
Higuain would put the match beyond reach in the dying minutes, scoring an incredible looping chip over Joe Bendik in goal. It was poor defending, the kind that hadn't been present much in the Toronto winning streak that has now ended.
How much damage this match will do to Toronto's chances of hosting their first ever playoff match remain to be seen, but it definitely hurt their chances of finishing top two in the conference.
This means Toronto will almost certainly now have to play a play in match if they want to get into the home and away portion of the playoffs.