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Recap: Pozuelo Panenka propels TFC to victory past NYCFC

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A big win in the Big Apple

MLS: MLS Cup Playoffs-Semifinals-Toronto FC at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO, Ont. — Alejandro “Panenka” Pozuelo continued his dominance against NYCFC, scoring twice to send Toronto FC to the Eastern Conference Final.

The Reds dominated in the first half, but were unable to find the back of the net. They had a few good chances to score, including this effort from Alejandro Pozuelo, but their best chance of the game came in the 37th minute.

After a nifty passing play involving several TFC players, Tsubasa Endoh found Jonathan Osorio on the edge of the penalty area with an eye-catching back heel. Osorio fired a shot on target, but NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson was able to turn it away.

Toronto FC kept pressing after halftime. And moments after the break, the Reds finally found their breakthrough.

Following NYCFC’s decision to play a bit of head-tennis, Maxime Chanot made a poor choice to try and head the ball back to his goalkeeper. Pozuelo jumped on the errant pass and slotted it past Johnson, giving TFC a 1-0 advantage.

In the 69th minute, NYCFC found an equalizer, as Ismael Tajouri smashed home a cross to tie it up at 1-1.

Just when it seemed as though the two sides were heading toward extra time, TFC were given a chance to win the match after Richie Laryea was brought down in the box — his second major impact in as many MLS Cup Playoff matches.

Alejandro Pozuelo stepped up to the spot and, well, you know the drill...

Pozo scored his third penalty goal from four attempts against NYCFC, and his fifth goal against them overall, earning Toronto FC a huge victory in their quest for a second MLS Cup title.

With the win, Toronto FC move on to the Eastern Conference Final, where they will take on one of Atlanta United or Philadelphia Union on October 30.

Full Match Highlights: