Toronto FC were eliminated from the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night, falling 1-0 to Nashville SC after extra time.
Missed chances were the story in this one, with both sides failing to capitalize on multiple occasions, including Nashville having three goals called back for being offside.
Nashville thought they took the lead in the 13th minute as Jhonder Cádiz found the back of the net. The assistant referee was quick to raise the offside flag however, and the game remained scoreless.
Nick DeLeon had the best chance of the half, almost giving Toronto FC the lead in the 26th minute. After a couple of nice passes, DeLeon got on the end of a low cross, but his shot at the near post was straight at Joe Willis.
There was a bit of controversy just after the half-hour mark, as Jonathan Osorio kicked Alex Muyl in the, uh, “nether region”. There was a red card produced for a similar play by Orlando City’s Ruan earlier in these playoffs. Osorio was lucky enough to escape any punishment, and the match continued.
The score would remain 0-0 going into halftime, but Nashville would pick up the pace in the second 45, looking for a breakthrough.
Not long after halftime, Cádiz scored again — but for a second time was called offside, something that would become a theme in this game.
The best chance for the visitors in the second half came in the 72nd minute, when Hany Mukhtar got on the end of a cross, but couldn’t keep the ball down.
Nashville continued to dominate the scoring chances, and had one final go in regular time, but Quentin Westberg kept the ball out with a crucial save in the final moments of the game to deny Walker Zimmerman.
This one always seemed destined for extra time, as neither side could capitalize on their chances, and that’s precisely what happened.
In the first half of extra time, Mukhtar thought he finally gave his team the lead, but for a third time, the assistant referee thought otherwise. He was slightly offside, so his brilliant chip over the head of Quentin Westberg was for naught.
The breakthrough came in the 108th minute. After Westberg stopped an initial shot, Daniel Rios, Nashville’s first-ever signing, jumped on it and tapped it into the empty net for the match-winning goal.
Despite some desperate attacking from Toronto for the next 10 minutes, they were unable to find an answer, and this one would end 1-0 after 120 minutes. Ultimately, Nashville were the better team on the night, and Toronto FC are out of the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs as a result.
So on that note, their 2020 campaign has now come to an end as one of most unique seasons in MLS history is behind them.
#TFCLive coach Greg Vanney postgame: "I felt that our biggest challenge on the night was that everything was too slow ... because if you don't (build up) fast enough against a team like Nashville, they just recover behind the ball and make it difficult for you to create chances."— Michael Singh (@MichaelSingh94) November 25, 2020