Montreal - A second-half goal by Cameroon defender Ambroise
Oyongo gave the Montreal Impact a 3-2 victory over Toronto FC in Tuesday's
first leg of their Major League Soccer semi-final playoff matchup.
A sellout crowd of 61,004 at Montreal's Olympic Stadium
waited through a 40-minute delay to repaint the mismarked penalty areas and
watched the host Impact seize a three-goal edge thanks to Dominic Oduro, Matteo
Mancosu and Oyongo.
But Toronto's Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley scored in
the closing minutes, vital tallies with away goals counting double if the
aggregate is deadlocked.
"We did win the game, but it did it kind of feels like
a loss because of the away goals," Oduro said. "But I still think we
have a good team. We've done it against a couple of good teams. We can still do
The second leg will be played November 30 with the aggregate
winner taking the Eastern Conference crown and a berth in the December 10 MLS
Cup final against either the Seattle Sounders or Colorado Rapids.
Seattle edged visiting Colorado 2-1 in Tuesday's two-leg
Western Conference opener, with Sunday's rematch to decide the first finalist.
Also read: Sounders win at Galaxy to boost playoff chances
Montreal, which beat Toronto 3-0 last year in the knockout
round of the MLS playoffs, jumped ahead in the 10th minute thanks to former
Toronto player Oduro.
Impact captain Patrice Bernier, a Canadian midfielder, fired
a perfect pass to an in-stride Oduro racing down the right wing and the
31-year-old Ghana striker blasted the ball past Toronto goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
In the 12th minute, Montreal struck again as Argentine
forward Ignacio Piatti left footed a centering pass to Italian striker Mancosu,
who fired it from the heart of the penalty area into the back of the net.
Oyongo, 25, made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute. He took the ball
just inside his own half of the pitch, dribbled with no pressure to the top of
the Toronto penalty area and unleashed a left-footed blast into the far left
corner of the net.
The visitors finally answered on a header in the 68th minute
by Altidore, the US forward nodding home his 14th goal in his past 18 club
US midfielder Bradley lifted Toronto within 3-2 in the 73rd
minute, aided by a centering flick from Altidore and a set-up flick by Tosaint
Ricketts before his right-footed smash.
"A team that doesn't have the characters maybe folds
and throws in the towel, but our response was unbelievable," Toronto
defender Drew Moor said.
"It was obviously not a good start to the game. We've
set ourselves up extremely well for the return leg, but there's part of the
hardest work in front of us, still."
Didier Drogba, the 38-year-old Ivory Coast forward who
starred at Chelsea, entered in the 71st minute to cheers but was thwarted twice
in the dying minutes.
Officials delayed the start after the width of the penalty
areas was found to be about two meters too small on each side, the wrong marks
on the artificial turf painted over in green and new ones painted down in white
-- fans literally watching paint dry instead of football.
"We're somewhat embarrassed," Montreal Impact
owner Joey Saputo said. "It's our fault. It's unfortunate this
The team moved the match from its usual home stadium, three
times smaller in seating capacity, to the 40-year-old Summer Games venue in
order to meet huge ticket demand.
- Lodeiro's PK wins it -
At Seattle, the Sounders broke a 1-1 deadlock in the 61st
minute when Uruguayan midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro drew a foul in the area from
Colorado's Mark Burch and converted the penalty kick, netting his fifth goal in
Colorado's Kevin Doyle opened the scoring in the 13th
minute, the Irish midfielder deflecting in a shot off defender Chad Marshall
from the top of the penalty area.
The Sounders equalized in the 19th minute as Cristian Roldan
hit the left post but the rebound came to Jordan Morris and the 22-year-old
hometown hero blasted the ball into the back of the net.For
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