Toronto FC get a chance at MLS Cup redemption after beating Columbus Crew 1-0 on Wednesday to reach Major League Soccer’s championship match.
US international Jozy Altidore shrugged off an ankle injury incurred in the 49th minute to score the game-winner in the 60th, departing the contest eight minutes later.
Toronto held on for the narrow win, good enough for a 1-0 aggregate victory in the Eastern Conference Championship tie after the teams played to a scoreless draw in the first leg last week.
Toronto will host either defending champions Seattle Sounders or the Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup final on December 9.
Seattle won the first leg of their Western Conference Championship tie 2-0 and will try to finish off Houston in the second leg on Thursday.
If they do, it will set up a rematch of last year’s title contest, won by the Sounders in Toronto.
That shattering loss on penalties came 12 months after Toronto were eliminated in the playoffs by Canadian rivals Montreal.
Now Toronto again have a chance to win the ultimate prize, having already won their first Supporters Shield as the team with the best record in the regular season.
Altidore was back in action on Wednesday after missing the first leg through suspension and didn’t disappoint.
A neat relay of passes among Sebastian Giovinco, Altidore and Victor Vazquez ended with Altidore sliding a right-footed shot into the far side of the goal, beating Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
Steffen had kept the game scoreless with his diving save of Vazquez’s attempt from the penalty spot in the 26th minute, the 22-year-old’s third penalty save of the playoffs including two in the shootout against Atlanta United.