Photo by Nick Turchiaro/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Toronto FC’s new-look team got off to a winning start in their pursuit of earning a CONCACAF Champions League berth, and it did so thanks in part to two of its Designated Players.
Jermain Defoe scored the opener and Michael Bradley netted the eventual winner as Toronto FC picked up a narrow 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps in the first leg of their Canadian Championship semifinals series on Wednesday night.
Toronto was cruising to a 1-0 victory at BMO Field before Michael Bradley scored an 89th-minute goal that seemed to give the Reds complete control of the series. That did not last, however, as Kekuta Manneh pulled one back for the Whitecaps just before the death to give Vancouver a better shot of advancing from next Wednesday’s second leg at BC Place.
In the other Canadian Championship semifinals first leg on Wednesday night, the Montreal Impact let a one-goal lead vs. FC Edmonton turn into a 2-1 deficit. Jack McInerney opened the scoring at Clarke Stadium in the 56th minute, but Tomi Ameobi equalized four minutes later to open the door for Michael Nonni’s winner.
Nonni compounded the Impact’s early-season miseries by scoring the go-ahead goal a minute into stoppage time, leaving the NASL club to now focus on finishing off the upset in the series when it visits Montreal at Stade Saputo next Wednesday.
The winners of the two semifinals series will meet in a two-legged series. The first match of the Canadian Championship final is scheduled for May 28 and the decisive tilt will be played on June 4.
The club that wins the competition will earn Canada’s lone berth into the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League.
What do you think of these results? Think Toronto FC will finish off the Whitecaps? Do you see the Impact coming back against FC Edmonton?
Share your thoughts below.