TORONTO – Toronto FC's fans had already witnessed a thrilling, contentious, grueling match that dragged them to the brink of despair, sent their hopes soaring – and then did it all over again, never easing up on the emotional intensity for 120 minutes.
Forward Jozy Altidore had a reminder for the supporters in BMO Field's South End:
"One more game."
Wednesday night's 5-2 extra-time victory over the Montreal Impact, giving them a 7-5 aggregate win in the two-legged Eastern Conference Championship was just the latest step in the Reds' best MLS season yet. Next up, also at BMO Field: the MLS Cup Final, set for Dec. 10 against the Seattle Sounders (8 pm ET; FOX, UniMás; TSN and RDS in Canada).
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“Everything is possible in one game against Seattle in 10 days,” said Benoit Cheyrou, who came on in the 96th minute and scored the series-deciding header two minutes later. “We can't wait to play that game at home. It's a dream for us.”
“I've been here for two years,” Cheyrou continued. “Last year, we qualified for the playoffs for the first time, This season, we are doing even better. We want more. Ninety more minutes in front of us to do great things. We're going to recover and be ready for the game. Everybody is waiting. One more game.”
In the short term, though, TFC are letting themselves enjoy the achievement of reaching the title game for the first time in club history.
“I just want to live in the moment and enjoy it,” said midfielder Jonathan Osorio, clinging to the Eastern Conference Championship trophy. “But at the same time, I'm already thinking about the final. Already thinking about how we can beat Seattle. I think everybody in this room is, too. [We're] very excited for what's coming.
“I can't even explain it,” he added. “It's been a long time. This club, the supporters have been waiting a long time for something like this. And they deserve it. They've stuck around. It's just amazing. This team has battled through adversity in so many games, but in this game especially, such a big match with so much pressure, for guys to step up like this... it's unbelievable.”
Having to make two comebacks in Wednesday night's match – the first time after Dominic Oduro's 24th-minute goal put the Impact up 4-2 on aggregate, and the second after Ignacio Piatti's bizarre 53rd-minute tally equalized the second leg 2-2 and restored Montreal's aggregate lead at 5-4 – can only serve Toronto well in the final, defender Drew Moor said.
"We've been through so much together; we feel like we can get through anything," he said. "If we can get through this, we should go into MLS Cup with a lot of confidence.”
Even the Reds' surroundings in a jubilant locker room underscored their determination not to let things end with Wednesday night's victory. There were crushed beer cans aplenty, but the champagne bottles remained corked in anticipation.
Win one more game, and the Reds will be able to pop those corks.