Ola Kamara scored twice as D.C. United beat Toronto FC 3-1 on Decision Day at BMO Field, but the Black-and-Red finish just outside the Eastern Conference's seventh and final Audi 2021 MLS Cup playoff spot.
HIGHLIGHTS: Toronto FC vs. D.C. United | November 07, 2021
With the victory, D.C. United wrap up their season in eighth place, but first-year coach Hernan Losada will be ultimately disappointed as his side comes up just short after the New York Red Bulls drew Nashville SC on Sunday evening. A Red Bulls loss, combined with this victory, would have seen D.C. United make the playoffs for the first time since 2019.
A positive takeaway was the superstar performance of Kamara, who entered the match just one goal back of New York City FC's Valentin Castellanos atop the Golden Boot presented by Audi race. The Norwegian striker scored twice in the first half to temporarily take the league lead in goals scored on the final day of the MLS regular season. However, Castellanos netted one of his own to reclaim the lead via the tiebreaker (assists, 19g/8a).
Kamara was taken down by Toronto FC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg in the 30th minute, prompting the referee to point to the penalty spot. Up stepped Kamara, and he calmly sent Westberg the wrong way to make it 2-1 for the visitors. Six minutes later, Kamara scored his 19th goal of the year, deflecting in a Julian Gressel shot to put D.C. up by two.
D.C., who looked sharp right out of the gate, opened the scoring just 14 minutes after kickoff. Center back Steven Birnbaum powered a header past Westberg to make it 1-0.
Toronto FC equalized four minutes later through Richie Laryea's long-distance strike, but that's when Kamara took matters into his own hands, scoring two goals within six minutes to give D.C. the two-goal lead and put the match virtually to bed.
- THE BIG PICTURE: D.C. United won the game but lost the battle, falling short of the postseason for the second year in a row. For Toronto FC, Sunday's match was all about commemorating the legacy of veteran defender Justin Morrow, who announced his impending retirement earlier this season. They finished 13th in the Eastern Conference.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Ola Kamara's second goal put the match virtually out of reach in the 36th minute. The build-up play by Julian Gressel and Paul Arriola was also special.
GOAL: Ola Kamara, DC United - 36th minute
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Ola Kamara. He was the most dangerous player on the pitch and could have scored nearly a dozen times Sunday afternoon. Another strong performance to wrap up a strong season for D.C. United's striker.
- TOR: vs. CF Montréal, Canadian Championship Final | Date TBD
- DC: End of season