Player Ratings: Jozy Altidore, substitutes carry the day for Toronto FC

Toronto FC's attackers and substitutes moved to the head of the class following a 5-2 second leg victory over rivals Montreal that sewed up the Eastern Conference crown, and the MLS Cup berth that comes with it.

The Reds fell behind for the second time in as many tie matches, but exploited poor set piece defending by the Impact three times to send the home leg to extras. From there, they hit twice to run away with their first invite to the MLS title game.

Toronto FC

Clint Irwin (6) – The home netminder couldn't have much to say about either goal leaked, as the first came on a sudden break and he was wrong-footed by a deflection on the second. Irwin's command of his area was decent and he ended up with four saves.

Eriq Zavaleta (6) – The right center back was far too timid in challenging Nacho Piatti on Montreal's second goal. From then on, Zavaleta was big, notching 10 defensive stops in or near the TFC area. He also amassed 19 positive passes in or into the attacking end.

Drew Moor (5) – Moor was woefully culpable on both Impact tallies, but did have a couple of stretches when he took over at the back. His best intervention of the night came just before the end of regulation.

Nick Hagglund (7) – Like Moor, Hagglund was burnt on both Montreal goals. However, he also rallied to score one of the most famous goals in club history to send the game to extra time. It wasn't his only key header on a restart, as another effectively set up Toronto's first strike of the match. By the end, he'd racked up 21 total defensive stops to lead all players.

Steven Beitashour (5.5) – The right wingback had little effect of any kind for most of the evening. Beitashour struggled on and off the ball – that is, until he served the perfect cross for Toronto's series winner to pull his grade back toward passing.

Will Johnson (5.5) – Called into service after helping the Reds turn the tide in leg one, Johnson gave them a lukewarm 62-minute shift on Wednesday.

Michael Bradley (5.5) – For the better part of an hour, the Reds skipper had a tough time. His passes weren't connecting and he was losing the important battles, such as the one that precipitated Montreal's opener. Then, suddenly, he morphed back into the General Bradley we all know and spent the remainder guiding his team toward MLS Cup.  

Armando Cooper (7.5) – It was quite the remarkable 88-minute outing from Cooper, who started the home side's rally with an opportunistic goal. The 29-year-old Panamanian was everywhere during his shift, spreading an impressive 16 defensive plays all across midfield while completing 40 of 45 passes.

Justin Morrow (6.5) – The left-sider was a bit too unselfish on an early chance, but that set-up mentality served him well as the game progressed. Morrow did some good work down his flank, most notably when he picked out Hagglund for the late tying goal that got TFC a vital extra 30 minutes.

Sebastian Giovinco (7) – The "Atomic Ant" was far more directly involved in the final third than in leg one, even if some of his tricks didn't come off. He squandered a couple of early restarts and then served a host of deadly ones. One of them started with a quick Altidore confab and ended in Toronto FC's first lead of the series.

Jozy Altidore (8) – The Reds striker constantly put his body on the line to mix it up with Impact players and repeatedly found extra energy when he needed to outrun someone, even when exhausted and soaking wet late in the game. Altidore bagged a terrific corner kick header to set an MLS record (five straight playoff games with a goal in a single postseason) and added a spectacular assist on the hosts' capper.

Head Coach Greg Vanney (7) – The Toronto FC manager pulled all the right strings in leading his side to its first MLS Cup appearance. Even when Montreal broke through to score, it only seemed to spur Vanney's boys on and their perseverance lasted until the final whistle.


Tosaint Ricketts (7) – Though not as immediately influential as he was in his leg one sub appearance, Ricketts eventually helped dissolve both Montreal's transition defense and their will. He was rewarded with the back-breaking goal in extra time.

Jonathan Osorio (6.5) – After coming in two minutes from the end of regulation, Osorio offered exactly what was needed to book the win: some track-back defense and counterattack-minded passing.  

Benoit Cheyrou (7.5) – Two minutes into his first outing in over a month, Cheyrou stamped his name in Toronto FC lore with the goal that sent them to MLS Cup. If that wasn't enough, he'd go on to add a handful of key passes under pressure to help the Reds close out the victory.

Montreal Impact

Evan Bush (3) – Bush was the hottest 'keeper in the league heading into this series, but that did not hold up. He failed to protect the short side on Altidore's pre-intermission goal, bailed out on coming for the cross on Cheyrou's winner and allowed the Ricketts insurance tally through him. To boot, the Impact netminder failed to complete a single long pass.

Hassoun Camara (2.5) – The Montreal right back was beaten time and again; on set pieces, in extra time, you name it. Most disturbingly, he allowed Cheyrou to waltz in close for the deciding goal. On the ball, Camara had almost no effect going forward.

Victor Cabrera (5) – Even though he continued to struggle with his passing game, Cabrera was easily the best Montreal defender in the first half, when he rang up 13 of his 19 defensive stops. After the break, he gradually fell apart until being badly exposed on TFC's two overtime goals.

Laurent Ciman (5.5) – Though the Belgium international had plenty of problems dealing with Altidore both early and late, he was not directly to blame on any of the home side's goals and ended up with 16 positive passes into attack. Still, the Impact needed more from him as they crumbled at the back.

Ambroise Oyongo (4) – Not only was the Impact left back significantly less effective going forward than he was in game one, but he let the team down defensively on a pair of back-breaking occasions. Oyongo let Cooper loose on Toronto's first goal of the night and he neglected to close down the crosser on their overtime winner.

Marco Donadel (4.5) – The Impact midfielder picked up where he left off last week from a defensive standpoint; his early saving tackle on Giovinco was a gem. However, he also struggled on the ball and would go missing on two of the visitors' three set piece leaks.

Hernan Bernardello (6) – Before departing at the interval, Bernardello moved the ball safely and supplied plenty of cover on defense. The play didn't end well, but he also added what momentarily looked to be a huge clearance off the line prior to Cooper's goal.

Patrice Bernier (6.5) – The Impact captain again performed well with the season on the line. He a combined 13 tackles, clearances, interceptions and blocks and pushed Montreal forward with his outlet passing, such as when his lead ball facilitated their opening strike. The visitors needed the ball on his foot far more often.

Dominic Oduro (7) – The last line of Bernier's review goes double for Oduro. Once again, he made the run to get loose and then applied the fatal finish for the game's first goal. Astonishingly, Montreal only got him a handful of non-defensive touches after the break.

Ignacio Piatti (6.5) – Montreal's top scorer was essentially a ghost in the first half. Piatti got more involved after intermission and would muscle his way in to temporarily regain the aggregate lead for the visitors, but this match was certainly not among his finest.

Matteo Mancosu (6.5) – The Italian striker again showed why he stole the starting role. Not content to be a top-notch lead forward, Mancosu rode a firm challenge to portray an ace set-up man on Oduro's ice-breaker. He continued to provide strong hold-up play before leaving, but earned a demerit for not going to the ball when protecting the near post on Altidore's important corner kick goal.

Head Coach Mauro Biello (4) – His team did not hold their nerve and they went MIA three times while defending restarts, and these things reflect on the boss. Biello had his team play it safe to protect a slim lead, which was the wrong move against such a talented and motivated foe.


Johan Venegas (7) – At times, Venegas seemed like the only one who realized Montreal was still eligible to attack after TFC took their first series lead. He expertly slipped Piatti in for what seemed at the time to be an important goal and never stopped asking questions of the home defense.

Didier Drogba (6.5) – Though the veteran forward found himself wide far too often, he still managed to give Montreal some semblance of hope of reaching MLS Cup with his physical hold-up play. Unfortunately for them, he was never able to get on the end of any final balls into the box.

Harry Shipp (6) – It was a rather tall ask for Shipp to make a difference with his side down two and just 17 minutes left, but he gave it a fair shot on the few times he got the ball in a decent position.