It wasn’t their best performance of the season, but Toronto FC beat Atlanta United 2-1 in the battle of the last two MLS Cup champions, reaching MLS Cup Final for the third time in four years. The win extended Toronto’s unbeaten streak to 13 matches, with their last defeat coming all the way back on August 3 against the New York Red Bulls.
The home side got off to a quick start, as Julian Gressel gave Atlanta the lead in the fourth minute. After Pity Martinez ran onto a pass through the Toronto backline, he passed it across to Gressel, who calmly put the ball home from a few yards out.
The Five Stripes had a chance to double their lead in the 11th minute after Michael Bradley conceded a questionable penalty, but Quentin Westberg came up big, diving to his right and saving Josef Martinez’s attempt.
Toronto FC got one back in the 14th minute, as Nicolas Benezet curled one into the goal after a sensational diagonal ball down the field from Laurent Ciman, capping an incredible opening 15 minutes.
The game was tied 1-1 going into halftime, but it certainly could have been a lot worse for The Reds.
Josef Martinez thought he had a chance to give Atlanta the lead in the 66th minute, but Quentin Westberg, arguably TFC’s playoff MVP, had other ideas, turning the shot away. It turned out the Atlanta United striker was offside on the play, but nevertheless, Westberg was there again.
Then, out of nowhere, Nick DeLeon, who had come off the bench earlier in the second half, turned and fired a rocket into the top left corner, giving Toronto FC the lead on a sensational goal.
Brad Guzan had no chance to keep it out, and Toronto FC started to sit back and start grinding out the result.
Atlanta threw everything at the defending MLS Cup champions, but Toronto FC managed to hold on for a huge 2-1 victory at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The final will be held in Seattle on Sunday, November 10th. As mentioned before, it’ll be the third time in four years that The Reds take on the Seattle Sounders in the biggest game of the year. The previous two were in Toronto, and we all know how the 2017 final ended...