Sports TFC stun reigning champion Atlanta to reach MLS Cup final again

13:55  31 october  2019
13:55  31 october  2019 Source:   thescore.com

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The 2019 MLS Cup final will have a familiar feel to it. For the third time in four seasons, Toronto FC will meet the Seattle Sounders in the showpiece contest after the Canadian side upset reigning champions Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference final on Wednesday.

Fourth-seeded Toronto advances to play at No. 2 Atlanta , the defending MLS champion which Both are making their mark at different ends of TFC 's salary scale. Pozuelo, proving again he is New After missing the playoffs last season, Toronto is now one win away from its third MLS Cup final in four

Tsubasa Endoh, Leandro González Pírez playing football on a field© Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The 2019 MLS Cup final will have a familiar feel to it.

For the third time in four seasons, Toronto FC will meet the Seattle Sounders in the showpiece contest after the Canadian side upset reigning champions Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference final on Wednesday.

A stunning strike from substitute Nick DeLeon in the 78th minute gave the Reds a 2-1 win, setting up a rubber match with the Sounders on Nov. 10.

The gorgeous goal capped an impressive turnaround.

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In reaching the final , TFC defeated the East’s top-two seeds on the road – without Jozy Altidore or Omar Gonzalez – and will now travel to Seattle in an attempt to win its second MLS Cup . Here are three takeaways from a hectic match. TFC gets carved open, then stitches up the wound.

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Greg Vanney's side couldn't have gotten off to a worse start at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as the hosts came flying out of the gates and opened the scoring after just four minutes.

Julian Gressel rolled the ball into an open net after Atlanta took advantage of a high defensive line from the visitors. At that point, it looked as if Toronto was in danger of being blown out of the water.

As has been the case for much of the season, though, goalkeeper Quentin Westberg provided the spark that would turn things around for TFC.

Seven minutes after Gressel's opener, Atlanta was awarded a penalty for a foul on Pity Martinez. Prolific star Josef Martinez confidently stepped up, as he has so many times over the past couple of years, only to see Westberg turn aside his low effort.

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Atlanta United FC are the 2018 MLS Cup Champions ! Congratulations Atlanta ! You guys did well. If we had to lose a cup game I'm glad it was against a team with a former Timber! No, everyone over here is just stunned that a team from Atlanta didn't blow another massive finals lead.

Given a lifeline, TFC wasted no time getting back on level terms, as Nicolas Benezet picked out the bottom corner with a sumptuous curler in the 14th minute.

Atlanta dictated the play for the majority of the second half. But after recovering from the early setback, TFC largely kept them at bay with a low defensive block.

Playing without striker Jozy Altidore due to a quadriceps injury once again, TFC showed little impetus to get forward before DeLeon stunned the partisan crowd with a scorching effort that flew past Brad Guzan.

"The mentality, the commitment, just the sheer determination from every guy tonight, even when things didn't necessarily come easily, that part was special," captain Michael Bradley told Katie Witham of FOX Soccer post-match.

The win, which pushes TFC's unbeaten streak to 13 matches dating back to the regular season, sets up another tilt with Seattle after the two sides met in both the 2016 and 2017 MLS Cup finals. The Sounders won the first encounter on penalties, with TFC exacting revenge the following year.

For the first time in their championship rivalry, Toronto will travel to CenturyLink Field with the title on the line.

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