D.C. United thought they had gained new life, forcing extra time with a last-gasp Lucas Rodriguez goal, but were left stunned as Toronto FC scored four times in extra time en route to a 5-1 demolition. Jonathan Osorio struck twice in extra time for TFC, who also got goals from Marky Delgado, Richie Laryea, and longtime United man Nick DeLeon.
The start of the match gave no indication of what was to come. After a frenetic opening 10 minutes, the energy slowly dwindled as Toronto and the Black-and-Red settled into a fairly cagey pattern.
TFC gradually began to edge out their opponent by containing play in United’s half. Jonathan Osorio managed the first shot of the match by testing Bill Hamid with a powerful strike that saw the United goalkeeper scramble to get hold of the ball.
After a long spell of possession, Toronto ended United’s record five-game shutout streak, taking a 32nd minute lead. Alejandro Pozuelo obtained possession and dribbled through Canouse before curling a shot towards goal. Bill Hamid succeeded in blocking Pozuelo’s initial shot, but could only push the rebound towards Marky Delgado, who beat Steven Birnbaum and drove the ball into the net for the opening goal.
United attempted to retaliate almost immediately as Paul Arriola and Lucas Rodriguez linked up inside Toronto’s half, but the shot was well defended by the home side.
The half ended with bad news, as Felipe went down injured. The Brazilian left the field in tears, with Ola Kamara coming on in hopes of strengthening United’s attack. The change altered the formation, forcing Paul Arriola to play right back, Russell Canouse into Felipe’s midfield spot, and Wayne Rooney to drop into the midfield.
The changes didn’t make a dent, and the home side nearly doubled the score as they cracked United’s defense quite easily before Pozuelo attempted to drive a sly shot through the back post.
Despite forcing play within United’s half for 10 straight minutes, the Black-and-Red finally managed to escape their opponent’s grip and push forward through Rooney. The captain completed two back-to-back shots that were well blocked by Quentin Westberg, though the second was a free shot from close range that Rooney would normally expect to put away.
After a couple of chances by the home side, Kamara pushed forward and nearly leveled the match. The Norwegian pounced on an atrocious back pass from Justin Morrow, but despite being in alone, his low shot gave Westberg the chance to make a save with his outstretched foot.
The last moments of the game saw United scrambling without much to show for it. However, the late pressure finally paid off as United won a game-changing corner. Rooney stepped up and found Frederic Brilliant, who knocked the ball down in hopes to find an unmarked United player. Arriola could not get to the ball, but Rodriguez swept in and achieved the 93rd minute equalizer.
United could celebrate and feel relief, but only because they didn’t know what was about to happen. Toronto regained the lead in the 93rd minute after a giveaway from Arriola enabled Michael Bradley and Nick DeLeon to feed Richie Laryea, who fired past Hamid from 8 yards.
One minute later, DeLeon’s free run met a TFC corner, and though his point-blank redirection didn’t beat Hamid, Osorio was on hand to push the ball over the line. Suddenly, United were down 3-1.
The action continued to go Toronto’s way, as a tidy finish from Osorio made it 4-1 in the 103rd minute. DeLeon was robbed by Hamid in the 105th minute, but then buried a spectacular strike from the resulting corner. Somehow, this game had gone from 1-1 to 5-1 in one half of extra time.
Ben Olsen made use of the extra substitution allowed in extra time, substituting Rooney off in what was his final game in MLS. United’s nightmare continued into the second half of extra time, as Arriola picked up two yellow cards in the 112th and 118th minute, earning him an ejection and a suspension to start the 2020 season.
Referee Allen Chapman mercifully ended the game right at 120 minutes, sparing United any further punishment. This defeat will linger well into the coming offseason, where the club has numerous huge decisions to make. TFC, meanwhile, advances to the conference semifinal, where they’ll face New York City FC this coming Wednesday.
MLS Cup Playoffs - First Round
Toronto FC 5 (Delgado 32; Laryea 93; Osorio 95, 103; DeLeon 106+)
D.C. United 1 (Rodriguez 93+)
(after extra time)
TFC (433): Quentin Westberg; Auro Jr. (Drew Moor 92+), Laurent Ciman, Chris Mavinga (Patrick Mullins 107), Justin Morrow; Marky Delgado, Michael Bradley (C), Jonathan Osorio; Tsubasa Endoh (Nick DeLeon 73), Alejandro Pozuelo, Nicolas Benezet (Richie Laryea 81)
DCU (4231): Bill Hamid; Russell Canouse, Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum, Joseph Mora (Emmanuel Boateng 87); Felipe (Ola Kamara 44), Junior Moreno; Ulises Segura (Luciano Acosta 78), Paul Arriola, Lucas Rodriguez; Wayne Rooney (C) (Leonardo Jara 106)
TFC - Osorio 40, Delgado 72, Morrow 102
DCU - Jara 109, Arriola 112, Arriola 118 (sent off)