JALISCO, MEXICO – Going into the final match of the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League Final, Toronto FC were down 2-1 on aggregate to Chivas de Guadalajara. Despite excellent goals from Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco, the teams headed to PKs, where Chivas were victorious.
History Unchanged: Toronto FC lose in CCL Final on Bradley and Osorio PK misses
Chivas came out the better side in the opening minutes with more chances and more of the ball, but both sides traded chances off of corners. Orbelín Pineda got the madness started in the 19th minute. Jonathan Osorio lost the ball in a battle in midfield that sprung a counter for the home side. Rodolfo Pizarro made a great pas that put Pineda in on goal. The attacker rounded goalkeeper Alex Bono and scored.
Toronto countered with several waves of pressure that led to a corner in the 25th minute. The cross pinged around in the box before Nic Hasler won it, dribbled towards the touchline to draw out goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota, then crossed it in front of goal for Jozy Altidore to finish.
The two sides traded chances until the 44th minute. Moments after receiving a yellow card for dissent, Sebastian Giovinco scored on a great run through the defense as he wrongfooted his mark and the keeper to score. The half ended 1-2, with the teams tied on aggregate 3-3 and on away goals 2-2.
Guadalajara and Toronto came out swinging in the second half. Chivas created shots on the run while the Reds made it happen on set pieces. Two of the best chances came back-to-back as Alan Pulido hit the crossbar on a shot then was denied by Bono on a free kick just a minute later.
Chivas controlled play for most of the final half hour. Marco Delgado and Jordan Hamilton had chances in the final minutes on the counter. No one could find the back of the net and the match went to penalties with the score 1-2 (3-3 aggregate).
Both sides converted in the first round. After Chivas took a 2-1 lead, Jonathan Osorio put his penalty kick off the bar. Every player scored until the bottom of the fourth round. Captain Michael Bradley needed to score to keep Toronto alive but put his shot well over the bar.
PKs ended 4-2 to Chivas, who claimed the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League championship.
Bigs stars show up and fall short: Pineda and Pulido showed up for Chivas. They put on a masterclass offensively and converted in penalties. Altidore and Giovinco showed up, scoring for their side. Ultimately, Altidore ran out of gas and had to be subbed. While Michael Bradley performed well in regular time, his missed PK is what will be remembered.
CONCACAF: Officiating was always going to play a role in this game. The referee decisions didn’t decide the game and there were no egregious PK no-calls. There was a play in the second half when Michael Perez appeared to clothes-line Giovinco as he ran down a ball outside the box. Oscar Moncada was close by and called no foul.
History unchanged: By many metrics, this iteration of Toronto FC is the best team in MLS history. They were in the best position of any MLS team to be the first to win CCL. They slew dragons in Tigres and Club America to get to the final but came up short against a statistically pedestrian Liga MX side. History will remember this as a massive failure.