New York upset Toronto to reach MLS last eight, avenge playoff loss

·2 min read
Toronto FC's Erickson Gallardo controls the ball during a round of sixteen match between Toronto FC and New York City FC of the MLS Is Back Tournament in Florida (AFP Photo/Emilee Chinn)
Toronto FC's Erickson Gallardo controls the ball during a round of sixteen match between Toronto FC and New York City FC of the MLS Is Back Tournament in Florida (AFP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

Los Angeles (AFP) - Valentin Castellanos and Maxi Moralez scored second-half goals as New York City FC reached the quarter-finals of the MLS is Back Tournament with a 3-1 win over Toronto FC on Sunday.

Moralez finished with a goal and an assist as New York won the battle between two heavyweights from the East and reached the next stage of the tournament.

They next face the winner of another knockout round contest on Tuesday between the Portland Timbers and FC Cincinnati.

In the late game, visitors Sporting Kansas City eliminated Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 via a penalty shootout after the pair were deadlocked 0-0 at full time.

Jesus Medina, in the fifth minute, and Castellanos, in the 55th, gave New York City a 2-0 lead before Moralez scored the third in the 81st at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida.

Patrick Mullins got one back for Toronto in the 87th minute in the much-anticipated rematch of the Eastern Conference semi-final from last year.

Sunday's win was a measure of revenge for New York who came into the knockout round through the back door as a third-placed team in the group stage.

They lost in the playoffs last year to Toronto but can now claim bragging rights in this tournament.

Castellanos got the crucial second goal after Moralez released him down the left flank with a long ball from midfield. Castellanos collected and created some space before hammering a shot inside the far post.

Medina had taken advantage of a poor clearance to open the scoring for New York and Moralez sealed victory by finishing off a Herber back heel.

The "MLS is Back" tournament is being staged at a single location in Orlando, Florida after a four-month shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The MLS is Back champion will earn a place in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.

In Vancouver, Sporting Kansas City needed penalties to reach the quarter-finals despite dominating with 32 attempts on goal.

Sporting's veteran goalkeeper Tim Melia saved twice in the shootout and saw one penalty rebound off the post as Kansas converted three of their four spot-kicks to progress into a quarter-final against Philadelphia.