Giovinco, Toronto roll into MLS final four
NEW YORK >> Sebastian Giovinco had the fourth hat trick in MLS playoff history and Toronto FC routed New York City FC 5-0 on Sunday night to reach the Eastern Conference finals.
With a 7-0 aggregate victory, Toronto set an MLS record for the largest margin of victory in a two-legged series since the league started using the playoff format in 2003.
Toronto will face the Montreal Impact in the two-game conference finals, with Game 1 set for Montreal on Tuesday, Nov. 22. They are the first Canadian teams in league history to reach the conference finals.
Giovinco scored twice in the first 20 minutes, and Jozy Altidore added another first-half goal. In the sixth minute, Giovinco settled Altidore’s pass, spun his defender and sent it past a late diving Eirik Johansen. Giovinco had a penalty-kick goal 14 minutes later.
In the 30th, Altidore was the first to Eriq Zavaleta’s chipped pass over the defense and he blasted it past Johansen. Jonathan Osor scored in the 50th, and Giovinco capped the scoring in the 91st with his seventh goal in his last six games. IMPACT 2, RED BULLS 1, (IMPACT ADVANES ON 3-1 AGGREGATE) >> Ignacio Piatti scored his second goal of the game in the 85th minute and Montreal beat New York to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time.
Montreal won the twogame, total-goals series 3-1 after taking the opener 1-0 at home last week.
Piatti opened the scoring in the 51st minute, powering a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Eight minutes after New York tied it, Piatti iced it with his right foot. Dominic Oduro raced down the left sideline on a breakaway and waited for help. Didier Drogba trailed up the middle, drew two defenders and found an open Piatti for a close-range shot.
Bradley Wright-Phillips, who won his second MLS Golden Boot in the last three seasons with 24 regular-season goals, scored on a deflected shot in the 78th minute. RAPIDS 1, GALAXY 0 (1-1 AGGREGATE, RAPIDS WINS 3-1 ON PKS) >> Tim Howard made two saves in the penalty shootout and Colorado beat Los Angeles 3-1 on penalties to advance to the Western Conference finals.
Colorado won the regulation game 1-0, tying the two-game, total-goals series 1-1 and forcing the tiebreaker. Los Angeles won 1-0 at home last Sunday.
Colorado reached its first conference finals since winning the MLS Cup in 2010.
Shkelzen Gashi scored in the 36th minute.
In the shootout, Steven Gerrard put Los Angeles in front, but the Galaxy missed their next three attempts. Dos Santos sent it over the crossbar, Howard denied Ashley Cole after a slow approach and Howard sealed it by diving to his right to block Jeff Larentowicz’s roller. Kevin Doyle, Sebastien Le Toux and Marco Pappa converted PKs for Colorado.
Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco celebrates his goal during an MLS secondleg Eastern Conference semifinal against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium Sunday.