Armando Cooper

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP

An all-timer: Toronto onto MLS Cup Final, outlasting Montreal in thriller

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The game in (more than) 100 words: The thrills didn’t relent over 90 minutes in Toronto, and they had no choice but to give the fans more.

In front of a rambunctious BMO Field crowd, Toronto and Montreal took the 3-2 first leg in Quebec and flipped it on its ear in regulation.

Jozy Altidore backed up his big words, bulling his way around the field, clobbering Impact players in both legal and illegal fashion.

Ignacio Piatti was effective even when he stumbled for the visitors, keeping pace with his MVP-caliber season.

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The first chance of overtime fell to Piatti, and Clint Irwin stopped the cross from reaching substitute Didier Drogba. The next twist came via withdrawal, as Sebastian Giovinco had to be substituted in the first period of extra time.

With names like Drogba, Bradley, Piatti, Altidore, and Giovinco, of course you had Steven Beitashour and Benoit Cheyrou teaming up for the winner, right? Right?

The leg ended 5-2. The match? 7-5. Seattle, you’re coming to Toronto.

Seven moments that mattered

24′ — Piatti opens up TFC back line for Oduro — Ignacio Piatti was one of the best players in MLS this season, and the electric Argentine carried a Montreal counter deep into Toronto territory before sliding a pass onto the path of Oduro. Goalkeeper Clint Irwin could only get a piece of the ex-TFC man’s shot, and it was 4-2 on aggregate.

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38′ — Cooper cleans up the trash — Nick Hagglund’s header off a corner kick was cleared off the line by Hernan Bernardello, but the rebound kicked off Hagglund into the path of Cooper, who scored his first TFC goal to level the tie and put the Reds back within a goal of advancing to the final.

44′ — Jozy does it (again) — Another set piece, another goal for TFC. Sebastian Giovinco’s near post corner kick was turned just inside the pipe by the head of Jozy Altidore, who put Toronto in front.

53′ — Piatti flips the script — Piatti got one of his own to put Montreal back on the plane to Seattle, as Johan Venegas slipped him through and the Argentine’s mishit shot fooled Clint Irwin and trickled over the line.

68′ — Hagglund makes amends — The Xavier alum was partially at fault for Montreal going ahead, but Hagglund rose high to hammer a header home to put extra time back in play. More set piece woes for Montreal, but no one said this was an advertisement for defense.

98′ — Guess who? Cheyrou! — Reigning MVP Sebastian Giovinco had to be subbed off in the first period of stoppage time, and his substitute scored moments later. Steven Beitashour swept a cross right into the thick of the box, and Cheyrou rose high to bury a header.

Man of the match: Altidore

Goalscorers: Oduro (24′), Cooper (37′), Altidore (45′), Piatti (53′), Hagglund (68′), Cheyrou (98′), Ricketts (100′)

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