MLS Cup Playoffs: Montreal Impact 3-2 Toronto FC

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): The Montreal Impact were in total control of the Eastern Conference final, just 90 straightforward minutes away from MLS Cup 2016, after delivering a series of haymakers to their 401 derby rivals, Toronto FC, over the first hour of the first leg inside Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday. Montreal were irresistible and deadly on the counter, TFC’s midfield and defense disorganized and shredded time after time. Dominic Oduro bagged the opener inside 10 minutes, and Matteo Mancosu made it 2-0 before the eerie echoes of the North Star bell had finished reverberating around the cavernous arena jam-packed with more than 61,000 north of the border. With the deficit just 2-0, TFC had every opportunity to regroup at halftime and grab a vital away goal to make next Wednesday’s second leg more most interesting at 2-1, but the second half started worse for TFC than the first: Ambroise Oyongo made it 3-0 after eight minutes. Then, things got very MLS-y. Jozy Altidore pulled one back for TFC in the 68th minute, and Michael Bradley grabbed a second away goal five minutes later. From dead rubber, to must-see TV, the second leg can’t possibly kick off soon enough. Fun fact: kickoff was delayed nearly 30 minutes, because the penalty areas on each end of the field were painted roughly three feet too narrow on either side. Major League Soccer, indeed!

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Three Four Five moments that mattered

10′ — Oduro slots past Irwin for 1-0 — Nick Hagglund stepped into no man’s land, Patrice Bernier applied the perfect touch on the through ball, and Oduro did what he does best — run really fast — and not quite the best — finish — to give the Impact an early 1-0 lead.

12′ — Mancosu hammers home a cross for 2-0 — Still reeling from the opener, Steven Beitashour and the rest of the TFC defense reacted just as poorly to Oduro’s through ball and Ignacio Piatti’s cross, as Mancosu made it 2-0 with ease.

53′ — Oyongo gallops through midfield, makes it 3-0 — Oyongo took eight touches, covering 40 yards, straight up the center of the field, without a single challenge made against him. Clint Irwin also failed to challenge the slow-rolling shot.

68′ — Altidore heads home Giovinco’s delicate chip — Sebastian Giovinco, worth his weight (plus some) in gold.

73′ — Bradley sweeps home to make things really interesting — So much of what TFC did well against New York City FC was to get the ball in the box, and to simply allow their opponents to capitulate on the clearance. If it ain’t broke…

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Man of the match: Dominic Oduro

Goalscorers: Oduro (10′), Mancosu (12′), Oyongo (53′), Altidore (68′), Bradley (73′)