Toronto FC turned on the style Sunday in a 3-2 regular season-ending victory over the Chicago Fire that snapped a five-match winless stretch and should boost the Reds' confidence ahead of the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.
In his second game back from injury, Sebastian Giovinco drew and converted a penalty in the dying minutes of the first half, then spun defender Rodrigo Ramos to set up Justin Morrow's go-ahead header nine minutes after the break.
Not to be outdone, Jonathan Osorio made it 3-1 after collecting Armando Cooper's pass, dodging the Fire's Jonathan Campbell and Khaly Thiam on a slaloming solo run, and driving a finish into the roof of the net.
The result sets up an Eastern Conference Knockout Round match against the Philadelphia Union in the first postseason contest ever to be played at BMO Field.
Michael de Leeuw scored early and John Goossens struck late for the Fire, which had helped knock out Columbus and New England from playoff contention before losing here in their final match of the year.
- 18’ – CHI – Michael de Leeuw (Arturo Alvarez)
- 45’ – TOR – Sebastian Giovinco (PK)
- 54' – TOR – Justin Morrow (Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley)
- 62' – TOR – Jonathan Osorio (Armando Cooper)
- 83' – CHI – John Goossens
- Full box score
- Watch highlights
- HE'S BA-ACK: Giovinco may have shown some signs of rust when he missed several first-half chances he normally puts away. But any concerns over the diminutive Italian's form heading into the postseason should fade after this effort. Giovinco was at his craftiest when he earned Toronto's somewhat disputed first-half penalty, and his most devastatingly brilliant when he spun Ramos despite having very little space to work.
- BACKUP PLANS: With his side's playoff destination and turnaround time still in question, Toronto coach Greg Vanney removed Osorio, Cooper and Jozy Altidore all before the 70th minute. That meant another 90-minute shift for Giovinco, who must now turn around for a midweek playoff match.
- COMING IN 3s: With his 18th-minute strike Sunday, de Leeuw scored in three straight matches for the second time this season. He previously scored in consecutive games against D.C., Philadelphia and Toronto in late August and early September. Those two streaks account for all but one of his seven goals since making his Chicago Fire debut in July.
- TOR: Wednesday, Oct. 26 vs. Philadelphia Union (ESPN2, UniMas, TSN2)