Toronto FC are the first team to clinch a spot in the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs, riding a first-half strike from Patrick Mullins to earn a 1-0 win at FC Cincinnati on Sunday evening. They've also won five straight and are undefeated in seven matches (6W-0L-1D).
Mullins scored in the 29th minute, one-timing a right-footed effort past goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton. The attacking move was set up by right back Richie Laryea, who cut back to Mullins as the striker drifted off the FC Cincy backline.
FC Cincy had a penalty-kick opportunity removed in the 96th minute when Video Review overturned an initial foul call on Omar Gonzalez. The Toronto center back was deemed to push Allan Cruz in the back, but after further examination the PK call was rescinded.
Toronto, also atop the Supporters’ Shield standings, nearly scored in the 24th minute via Alejandro Pozuelo. His curling effort curled was sent just beyond the post after a Jonathan Osorio set-up pass. They also came close in the 69th minute through Pablo Piatti, whose deflected cross was pawed off the goal line by Tyton.
The Orange and Blue finished with one shot on goal, a near-post drive from Brandon Vazquez in the 34th minute. Otherwise, their goalless streak reached 455 minutes as Jaap Stam’s team struggled to find an end product.
- 29' – TOR – Patrick Mullins | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: In this wildest of seasons, Toronto deserve props for already clinching a playoff spot. They’ve largely played away from home and are dealing with key injuries to Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, yet they’ve separated themselves from other Eastern Conference challengers. As for FC Cincy, they’re now winless in five and have lost four straight. Their final-third struggles continue, as the second-year club has scored an MLS-worst eight goals.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: FC Cincy appeared to have a PK in second-half stoppage time, a golden opportunity to make it 1-1. But then Video Review was queued up and the initial foul call was overturned, leading to some late drama.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Toronto only needed one chance to get three points at Nippert Stadium, and Patrick Mullins provided exactly that in the 29th minute. Third choice for TFC at striker, it was his first goal since Sept. 7, 2019 against – you guessed it – FC Cincinnati.