Holding a 2-0 aggregate lead entering the second leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal against New York City FC, Toronto FC and singular star Sebastian Giovinco took only six minutes to put it away.
The 5-0 victory at Yankee Stadium left Toronto FC with an MLS postseason record 7-0 aggregate tally, and the Reds advance to the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship, in which they'll oppose Canadian rival Montreal Impact in a two-leg series.
NYCFC rookie Jack Harrison turned the ball over in his own half, and Jozy Altidore found Giovinco at the left corner of the 18-yard box. Taking a dribble toward the middle, Giovinco beat the defender to the ball and rocketed a low shot back toward the left corner and into the back of the net.
Just 13 minutes later, Giovinco took Frederic Brillant 1-on-1, blowing past him and forcing the French defender to reach out in desperation; the subsequent trip put Giovinco at the penalty spot, where he coolly converted low and left for the quick brace. The fourth hat trick in MLS Cup Playoffs history was completed with a knuckler in the 1st minute of second-half stoppage time.
Any remaining doubt was erased in the 30th, when Altidore rocketed in a third goal, pushing the aggregate score to 5-0 and forcing New York to chase six goals in the remaining hour. After halftime, Giovinco slipped a through ball to Will Johnson, who one-timed a cross to Jonathan Osorio, whose clean strike sealed the 4-0 final.
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- 6' – TOR – Sebastian Giovinco (Jozy Altidore)
- 19' – TOR – Sebastian Giovinco (PK)
- 30' – TOR – Jozy Altidore (Eriq Zaveleta)
- 50' – TOR – Jonathan Osorio (Will Johnson, Sebastian Giovinco)
- 90'+1' – TOR – Sebastian Giovinco (Nick Hagglund)
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- SEBA, SERIOUSLY? Bruh:
- LIVING THAT #NEWB LIFE: New York City FC made their postseason debut in this Conference Semifinals, and – as it was for Toronto FC last season – found themselves quickly on the outside, throughly outplayed by more experienced opposition. Getting blanked was bad enough, but suffering a record 7-0 aggregate defeat (Previously: LA 5, RSL 0; 2014) opens a wound that will fester for a Bronx offseason.
- O CANADA: After last season's ingnominous 401 Derby defeat in the Knockout Round, Toronto FC gets an opportunity for revenge in the Easter Conference Championship, which opens November 22 against rival Montreal Impact at Olympic Stadium in the MTL. Considering the form both teams have shown in advancing out of the Knockouts, with Montreal knocking off the East-leading New York Red Bulls, we're in for a wild round.
They Said It
Vanney: We're continuing to develop a culture of winning. Results are matching performances and it's building momentum. #TFC— Christian Araos (@Christian_Araos) November 7, 2016
- TOR: Eastern Conference Championship 1st Leg vs. Montreal Impact (Tuesday 11/22, Time TBD)