Altidore beat Montréal goalkeeper James Pantemis to his near post with a free kick in the final minute of second-half stoppage time to give the BMO Field crowd a rare moment of joy this season and take a crucial two points away from their rivals in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs race.
A Sunusi Ibrahim goal 10 minutes into the second half and a series of spectacular saves from Pantemis looked to have given Montréal a first win in three to keep them above the playoff line. Instead, it's three straight draws for Wilfried Nancy's crew, which takes them below the Eastern Conference line with three games remaining.
While the opening half finished goalless, it wasn't for the lack of chances. For Montréal, Zachary Brault-Guillard blasted an early opportunity wide of the near post from a tight angle, while Ibrahim looked to have manufactured a clear opening after a neat turn of Michael Bradley but the veteran TFC midfielder got back to deny him a clear strike at goal.
The best of the chances, though, came at the other end and all fell the way of Jacob Shaffelburg. On all three occasions, the young Canadian forward failed to provide the finishing touch, twice being thwarted by smart blocks from Pantemis after through balls put him in on goal, and then heading wide of the target with the goal at his mercy following an inch-perfect cross from Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty.
Toronto FC interim coach Javier Perez looked for some attacking inspiration when bringing 2020 MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo on at halftime. But it couldn't stop Ibrahim from breaking the deadlock to put the visitors in front.
So Perez then turned to another of his Designated Players, Altidore, from the bench. It looked like a move that would pay swift dividends when Altidore found himself unmarked in the six-yard box for a clear header on 71 minutes. But the USMNT international's effort was just too close to the Montréal 'keeper, giving Pantemis an opportunity to make a spectacular one-handed save.
When Altidore smashed another shot straight at Pantemis at the start of stoppage time, it looked like that that would be that. Instead, the veteran goal-scorer had one more trick up his sleeve to supply a dramatic finale.
- THE BIG PICTURE: How big will Altidore's late goal prove to be at the season's conclusion? With such fine margins in the Eastern Conference playoff race and three points separating fourth and eighth place, it really could be what keeps Montréal out of the postseason. And wouldn't Toronto love that.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: What else but Altidore's 95th-minute equalizer? After being imperious throughout the night, Pantemis may feel he should have done better on this one.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: We're going to be a little kind here. While Pantemis probably should have stopped Altidore's leveler, Toronto likely would already have been in front if it had not been for the Montréal 'keeper's earlier heroics. He still finished the night with eight saves and ensured Toronto's xG of 2.7 resulted in just one goal on the score sheet.
- TOR: Wednesday, October 27 vs. Philadelphia Union | 7:30 pm ET (TSN, MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
- MTL: Wednesday, October 27 at Forge FC | 7:30 pm ET (OneSoccer) | Canadian Championship Semifinal