Toronto FC hoping to avoid catastrophe in Canadian championship semifinals

TFCMontreal (Getty Images)

Ever since their CONCACAF Champions League run came to an end, Toronto FC have been hit with a string of setbacks, one after another. There are still ways for Toronto FC's calamitous season to get worse, though, and one of those scenarios presents itself tonight.

Playing at home against the rival and expansion Montreal Impact, Toronto FC need a victory in the second leg of their tie to avoid being sent home in the semifinals of the Canadian championship for the first time in the tournament's five-year history.

In the night's other second-leg match, the Vancouver Whitecaps aim to finish off NASL foe FC Edmonton after coasting to a win in the first leg with a reserve-laden side.

Here's a look at tonight's two second-leg matches in Canada:

TORONTO FC vs. MONTREAL IMPACT

First Leg: 0-0 draw

Tonight: BMO Field, 8 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet

Toronto FC enters the match after a record-setting 0-8-0 start in MLS play, and they could very well be without Designated Players Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans, who are both nursing injuries. Frings hurt his shoulder in the club's loss to D.C. United over the weekend, and his absence creates a ripple effect that can impact the club's already-fragile defense. Nick Soolsma appears to be ready to return from his injury layoff, though, meaning the onus falls on him, Ryan Johnson, Eric Avila and Joao Plata to carry the attack.

Montreal, meanwhile, is in fine form after consecutive clean-sheet victories over the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City, and Jesse Marsch's pool of capable players appears to be growing after the successful MLS debuts of centerbacks Nelson Rivas and Hassoun Camara over the weekend. Montreal is 1-0-1 against TFC in all competitions this year and just needs a non-scoreless tie to advance to the final for the first time since winning it all in 2008.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS vs. FC EDMONTON

First Leg: Vancouver won 2-0

Tonight: BC Place, 11 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet

The Whitecaps are in total control after Omar Salgado helped set up Atiba Harris and Eric Hassli for goals at Commonwealth Stadium in the opening leg. While Salgado has started to find his groove on the left wing for Martin Rennie, another young attacker, rookie Darren Mattocks, could get a chance to shine in the second leg, as he makes his way back to action from a layoff caused by burns suffered in a cooking accident a few weeks ago.

FC Edmonton enters the match with some momentum, something that has been lacking all season for the NASL side. They won their first match of the season over the weekend, getting a hat trick from Shaun Seiko to top the Carolina RailHawks.

————————-

Do you think TFC can finally get a win? Or do you see Montreal dealing the Reds another major blow? Think it's Vancouver's tournament regardless?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Canadian Soccer, MLS- Montreal Impact, MLS- Toronto FC, MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Toronto FC hoping to avoid catastrophe in Canadian championship semifinals

  1. The Imperative Voice says:

    If Winter can’t beat an expansion team with an expensively assembled team whose tactics and staffing have been under his control for months now, he should be out of a job. I’m surprised he’s still in the job but they would literally have nothing left to play for if they blow this. At which point you’d be better served trying out a replacement, seeing how the team responds to elevating an assistant, anything but the sorry status quo.

    But I think they’re all playing for second because Vancouver is so much improved.

  2. Dos says:

    Avoiding catastrophe is still a disaster! Figure it out up there!

  3. Jeff says:

    Why does two scoreless ties five Montreal the win?

  4. Modibo says:

    I agree on the Vancouver issue. This match is irrelevant, because Toronto can’t beat Vancouver – not on current form at least. Chances are, they would lose to Edmonton as well.

  5. Rlw2020 says:

    My guess is that it would put it into OT

  6. ale says:

    Oh don’t worry, Aron Winter will lose this game, subsequently spit out some crap about being “the better team”.

    Believe it or not there are still some people who think he should stay. Yes, there are certain segments of the TFC fan base that are beyond diluted.

  7. Neal says:

    The article says that a “non-scoreless” tie allows Montreal to advance.
    Away goals?

  8. TFCfan says:

    This coming from a TFC fan…

    Vancouver is much better than us right now.

  9. Shane says:

    TFC has the third highest payroll in MLS at just above $8 million. As Taylor Twellman pointed out that’s $1 million for each loss they have. Ha Ha. Arrogant franchise imo, just like the Red Bulls.

  10. RK says:

    Really going out on a limb there.

  11. The Imperative Voice says:

    Until the salary cap is substantially higher or the league plays less of a physical, hustling, defensive style, I don’t see a 433 working well. And in Holland where the style is de rigeur teams gather talent appropriate to the formation, laugh about defense, and play to score tons of goals. TFC’s problem, seen through that lens, would be not so much that they allow too many — a standard complaint — as that they still care but haven’t gotten enough offense to overcome it. In the Eredivisie some teams will break 100 goals on a MLS schedule. So arguably their problem is bothering about defense and not loading up in the first two rungs of 3 and 3.

    Winter could stay for a million years and it won’t change, and part of it is that the team mustered on the field is just not that impressive, despite its expense. If Winter had, say, NYRB’s talent, or Seattle’s talent, or KC’s talent, they might be at least middling despite the coach and formation. But part of the problem is they just stink.