Toronto FC Canadian Champions

on June 2017 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

As this country looks to celebrate their 150th birthday, it is safe to say that in Canada soccer finally means something. 26563 fans at BMO Field (the largest ever for a Canadian Championship match) were wildly entertained as Toronto FC defeated the Montreal Impact 2-1 behind Sebastian Giovinco’s brace. The winning goal came in added time after Raheem Edwards ran down the left side and cut a pass back to a wide open Seba who found the back of the net.

As with competition that involves Toronto and Montreal, this too had a bit of everything and a ton of emotions. Some questionable refereeing, a penalty shot that wasn’t called, a red card to Patrice Bernier that maybe wasn’t a red card and a frantic final few minutes which saw some pushing and some shoving. Yes, this game means something alright.

“We are very proud to be Canadian Champions, that’s a big thing for us, it was one of our goals,” coach Greg Vanney said after the champagne filled locker room celebrations. “It also now gives us the opportunity to compete in Champions League because we feel like we have a team to compete in it and be the first [Canadian] team to win it.”

This Canadian Finals could be considered a tale of two cities, with one topping the MLS East standings and the other bringing up the rear. A total of 17 pts separate these two teams and it is easy to assume that this would and should be a cakewalk for the Reds. But this is now a full blown soccer rivalry where one should never underestimate the power of hate or revenge. It was only a few months ago that TFC had their greatest victory, advancing to the Finals, and it came at the hands of the Impact. Montreal certainly has not forgotten.

The 401 derby has repeatedly provided classic matches and this was no different. TFC did provide much of the pressure and much of the possession but Montreal don’t require any of that as they are ever dangerous on the counter attack. For the Impact, it doesn’t have to be pretty, just effective. They played back and waited. They got tested and waited. Bent but never broken in that first have and they waited some more. Finally, despite an excellent tackle by Mavinga, the ball fortuitously bounced their way and Ballou Tabla (how can you not love that name) curled it into the top of the net passed a stretched out Clint Irwin.

Coach Vanney inserted Jozy Altidore and Marky Delgado into the lineup to start the second half. TFC continued to press and were finally rewarded. Michael Bradley delivered a beautiful ball to Giovinco who was able to control it and then fire it past keeper Maxime Crepeau. Bradley until that point did not have one of his better games. He seemed a step slow losing the ball on occasion and his tackling and passing were off until that magical moment.

With the brace, Giovinco may be letting everyone know that he is back in business and if that is the case, watch out MLS. If Toronto was leading the league with a somewhat effective Giovinco, imagine how dominant they can be with the full version of the Atomic Ant.

All in all, even though only one team gets to hoist the trophy, it was a country that won today. Soccer matches of this ilk, of this magnitude with this heightened emotion help solidify the impact (pardon the pun) that this sport can have. With the quality of Canadian players on both sides, this hopefully will translate soon enough to the National team as they embark on the Gold Cup in the next few weeks.

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