ATLANTA — Toronto FC defeated Atlanta United 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Final Wednesday night and booked a ticket to the 2019 MLS Cup Final.
After an early deficit, a goal by Nicolas Benezet and Nick DeLeon gave Toronto its ticket to another MLS Cup Final, its third in the last four years.
The team from Canada will now face Seattle in the final, a matchup that will also take place for the third time in the last four years, with Seattle winning in 2016 and Toronto in 2017.
This will mark the second time that Seattle will host MLS Cup Final, the first being in 2010.
On Wednesday’s match, the Five Stripes took the lead at the fourth minute when Ezequiel Barco placed a great through pass to Pity Martinez, who then dished it to Julian Gressel to his right side and Gressel one-timed the ball and placed it into the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Pity was fouled from behind by Michael Bradley inside the 18-yard box and referee Alan Kelly quickly called a penalty for Atlanta. Josef Martinez stepped up to the spot but the shot was saved by Toronto goalkeeper Quentin Westberg.
Shortly after, Benezet tied the game for Toronto after shooting a curling ball outside of the 18-yard box, which hit the post and went into the back of the net.
The game-winning goal took place at the 78th minute when DeLeon received a pass from Alejandro Pozuelo and DeLeon turned 90 degrees and Atlanta defenders stepped away from him and DeLeon blasted a shot towards the top right corner of the goal.
“The better team doesn’t always win. It’s unfortunate. We played a good game,and we’re disappointed. We gave up two goals from outside of the box,” Atlanta United captain Michael Parkhurst said. “It’s good finishing on their part. We weren’t clinical enough. Combine those things,and you go home for the season, so that’s what happens.”
For Atlanta, the team will now have about two months of rest until the preseason starts and the team starts preparing for another CONCACAF Champions League run.
But between then and now, is it expected to see a lot of roster moves, whether it is some players leaving and some others coming in. But regardless of that, this was still a successful season for Atlanta given that the team won its first international trophy in Campeones Cup and also won the U.S. Open Cup for the first time in club history.