The first leg of the 2016 MLS Eastern Conference playoff final saw both sides leave the field with hope very much still alive.
Montreal Impact will be disappointed at having allowed a three-goal lead to slip, but should be consoled by the fact that the 3-2 still provides an advantage heading into the second leg. Toronto FC will be delighted to have scrambled back into a series that seemed to be over after Montreal's third goal. Instead of a three-goal hole, TFC brings a more manageable one-goal deficit home for the second leg - and two away goals may prove significant if the series comes down to tiebreakers.
For fans of the New York Red Bulls, the first leg of this all-Canada Conference final provided an interesting trip down memory lane: every one of the five goals scored involved a former Red Bull (or MetroStar).
Dominic Oduro (in and out of RBNY in 2009; his legacy at the club nothing more than a cluster of squandered draft picks) opened the scoring in the 10th minute, and was credited with an assist for his part in Matteo Mancosu's 12th-minute strike.
L'Impact went into the break with a two-goal lead and hoping for a third to all-but kill the match. Ambroise Oyongo (a one-season wonder for RBNY in 2014) obliged in the 53rd minute with the goal of the game. The full back dribbled out of his own half, found passing options limited - so simply thwacked a shot on goal from the top of the box. The shot seemed to take TFC 'keeper Clint Irwin by surprise, and L'Impact seemed to have wrapped up the Conference final before the end of the first leg.
But TFC found new momentum shortly after the third goal, thanks to a couple of timely substitutions. Will Johnson and Tosaint Ricketts signaled the arrival of fresh ideas on Toronto's side of the ball.
In the 68th minute, Jozy Altidore (RBNY 2006-08) gave TFC the consolation of an away goal. In the 73rd minute, Michael Bradley (MetroStars 2004-05) added Toronto's second.
TFC's goals came from a mix of renewed determination and a surprising collapse in Montreal's defensive proficiency. L'Impact won't be happy to have conceded two away goals; Toronto will be concerned about the relative ease with which Montreal took control of the game at the start of both halves. For the neutral, there should be a lively second leg to look forward to - and for that, you can thank the efforts of four former RBNY (and MetroStars) players.