Montreal and Toronto put paid to New York's MLS Cup hopes with Eastern Conference semi-final wins on Sunday, as the Los Angeles Galaxy bowed out in the West in what was likely Steven Gerrard's MLS swansong.
Until Sunday, a Canadian team had never booked a spot in the MLS Cup conference finals. Now one is sure to be in the league's title match after Montreal ousted the New York Red Bulls and Toronto embarrassed New York City FC.
TFC hit NYCFC for 7
Sebastian Giovinco scored a hat trick to lead Toronto FC to a resounding 5-0 victory over City at Yankee Stadium.
Following Toronto's 2-0 home win a week earlier they emerged 7-0 winners on aggregate and will play the Montreal Impact in the Eastern Conference finals.
Montreal make it through
Two goals from Argentinian Ignacio Piatti lifted the Impact to their first conference finals berth with a 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls, giving the Impact a 3-1 aggregate triumph.
Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan missed a penalty in the 21st minute as the Big Apple team, prolific in the regular-season, saw their playoff struggles continue.
The Red Bulls scored 61 goals in the regular season with Bradley Wright-Phillips earning the golden boot. But they finished with one goal in two post-season matches -- from Wright-Phillips on Sunday.
Howard the hero
In Colorado, Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard made two saves in a penalty shootout as the hosts advanced at the expense of the Galaxy.
The Rapids won 3-1 on penalties after a 1-0 victory in the second leg of their Western Conference semi-final tie left them deadlocked 1-1 on aggregate.
Los Angeles won the opening leg 1-0 at home, but lost the second leg 1-0 Sunday on a goal by Colorado's Swiss midfielder Shkelzen Gashi in the 36th minute.
"Penalties are a lottery," said the Galaxy's Robbie Keane. "It doesn't matter how good you are, how good of a player you are, how good of a team you are."
Gerrard, going first in the shootout, found the back of the net, but Giovanni dos Santos fired high and Howard stopped shots by Ashley Cole and Jeff Larentowicz.
Meanwhile Colorado's Kevin Doyle, Sebastian Le Toux and Marco Pappa hit home.
"It's hard to accept," said Galaxy captain Jelle Van Damme. The Belgian is signed through next season but the contracts of Keane, Landon Donovan and Gerrard expire with the end of the season and each may have played his last game for the Galaxy.
Keane said he'd be playing next year "somewhere," but Donovan, 34, wasn't ready to contemplate the future.
"This is not the time to talk about that," he said.
As the Galaxy were left to pick up the pieces, the Rapids were looking forward to a Western Conference finals meeting with the Seattle Sounders.
Dallas slump out
Seattle's 3-0 first-leg win over FC Dallas helped put them through 4-2 on aggregate after a 2-1 defeat in Dallas on Sunday.
It was a disappointing finish for FC Dallas.
They won the Supporters' Shield for topping the regular-season table, but couldn't overcome the loss of Argentinian midfielder Mauro Diaz to injury in the penultimate match of the regular season.