Toronto FC made sure their first playoff home game was one to remember on Wednesday night.
The Reds took full advantage of the occasion to earn their first-ever postseason victory, defeating the Philadelphia Union 3-1 in an Eastern Conference Knockout Round match in front of a raucous crowd at BMO Field.
"It was amazing. It almost feels like soccer in Toronto is reborn again, for Toronto FC," star forward Jozy Altidore told ESPN after the match. "So to be a part of a night like this where you saw the fans kind of come alive again like they were that first year. I remember playing here [in 2007 with the New York Red Bulls] and it was amazing. So to be a part of it was a special night."
Altidore set up the first Toronto goal by forward mate Sebastian Giovinco and then the reigning MLS MVP returned the favor on the goal that sealed the win in the 85th minute. Altidore collected a cross from Giovinco in the Union penalty area, but a misplay by Philly defender Ken Tribbett allowed Altidore to get a second crack at a shot and put the match away.
"We have that partnership," Altidore said. "I do that [the dirty work] and he’s special in his quality. And I just try to bring what I can to the team. I think together we work really well and we’re hard to deal with and tonight we showed up in a big moment for our team."
The victory by No. 3-seeded Toronto FC set up a matchup against East No. 2 seed NYCFC, who enjoyed a Knockout Round bye.
"It’s a challenge, but that’s what makes it fun this time of the year," Altidore said. "These games are what you play for and there’s a lot of people who would die to be in our position. So we’re really lucky."