A pair of late goals avoided what could have been a complete disaster for Toronto FC tonight in Montreal. TFC still lost 3-2, but now have two away goals going back home in a week's time.
Ambroise Oyongo had the winning goal for the Montreal Impact, while Matteo Mancuso and Dominic Oduro also scored early. Toronto FC clawed their way back in the series with a pair of second-half goals from Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore.
Issues with the size of the 18-yard box caused the game to be delayed by more than a half an hour. The grounds crew had to repaint the lines to make sure they were up to specifications.
Whether it was the delay, or just poor preparation remains to be seen, but Toronto FC came out of the gate completely flat and the Impact used their incredible home atmosphere to take over the game early. For Toronto FC it was like some kind terrible deja vu.
Just ten minutes into the match, Montreal caught Toronto FC with a counter attack. Patrice Bernier played a brilliant ball through into the path of Ex-TFC forward Oduro who used his speed to beat the Toronto backline before firing a low shot into the back of the net.
The Impact took advantage of a shell-shocked Toronto FC side just two minutes later. The doubled their lead as Ignacio Piatti's low cross found Mancosu in the box, who pounced on the ball despite having several Toronto FC defenders around them.
Just like that, the opening moments of the match had played out very similar to the last time the two sides met in the playoffs, when the Impact scored a trio of early goals to put away Toronto FC.
The Impact couldn't get a third before the half, however, but still went into the break up 2-0. Toronto FC had only won one match all season after giving up the first goal, and had plenty of work to do in the second half in order to come anywhere close to doing it again.
The disaster continued for Toronto in the second half, when another gap in the midfield was exploited by Oyongo. The fullback fired home a shot from distance to give the Impact a dominant 3-0 lead.
Toronto FC, knowing they needed a big change in a hurry, replaced Jonathan Osorio and Armando Cooper with Will Johnson and Tosaint Ricketts. The substitutes made an instant impact, changing the complexion of what was a completely one-sided game.
Ten minutes after the substitution, Ricketts hit the post. The ball recycled and a nice little chip cross found Altidore in the middle of the box. It was his fourth goal of the playoffs in as many games, and a huge momentum shift.
Just five minutes later, Toronto FC added an even bigger goal. A similar scramble in the box found its way onto the foot on Ricketts in the box. The TFC striker calmly laid the ball back to Michael Bradley, who fired a low ball past Evan Bush in the Montreal net.
The two away goals give Toronto some hope going back to BMO Field where the two sides will meet again next Wednesday. It's not an ideal situation for TFC, but it sure could have been a lot worse.