TFC wins Canadian title

Toronto FC celebrates with the Voyageurs Cup after defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps to win the...

Toronto FC celebrates with the Voyageurs Cup after defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps to win the Canadian Championship at BMO Field in Toronto, Ont., Saturday. (Reuters)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:59 PM ET

TORONTO - It took a while, but Toronto FC finally managed to break through against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday afternoon, earning a third-straight Canadian championship thanks to a 2-1 victory.

Keeper Joe Cannon and the Whitecaps defence put up a wall and got some luck in the first half, stunning the BMO Field crowd on the way to a 1-0 advantage on Camilo’s 21st-minute free kick.

But Joao Plata equalized off a penalty kick in the 48th minute.

Plata later set up Mikael Yourrasowsky for his first as a Red off of an initial stellar setup by Julian de Guzman, who played one of his best games as a member of TFC after missing the last six.

TFC tied the Whitecaps 1-1 in Vancouver in the first leg of the final and won the Voyageurs Cup for the second straight year at home and third time overall 3-2 on aggregate, capping one of the finest weeks in franchise history.

“It’s good to achieve one of the goals we set out this season,” de Guzman said.

Plata succeeded former Reds captain Dwayne De Rosario as the recipient of the George Gross Memorial Trophy as tournament MVP.

Vancouver had led the Reds 1-0 through 60 minutes of play back in late May before the game was abandoned due to bad weather and restarted on Saturday.

TFC advances to the preliminary stage of the CONCACAF Champions League against Real Esteli FC of Nicaragua. The Reds advanced past that round last year by beating Motagua of Honduras.

Plata’s opener had come after de Guzman had earlier hit the post and after Javier Martina had been robbed of a goal by a trailing official who said it didn’t cross the line when it actually did before Jay DeMerit booted it away.

Each of the game officials struggled. Vancouver benefited early when a debatable foul on Ty Harden led to Camilo’s opener and again in the 41st when Martina’s goal was not awarded.

Toronto got breaks of its own later when Plata received a penalty kick despite committing a handball that should have been called. Plata was also given a second penalty attempt after Cannon moved early while stopping the initial attempt.

Reds head coach Aron Winter said based on some of the zany things that have happened to his club earlier in the season, he was a tad worried it might not be their day early.

“I was thinking that with all the things that had happened, and the bad luck that we had, that it could be possible,” Winter said.

Winter was pleased though with how the Reds responded to early misfortune.

“After they scored we reacted well. After that, the referee didn’t give us what I thought was a 100% goal ... still, in the second half we reacted very well, as we created pressure in the front, and finally we deserved the two goals.”

When it was over, fan favourite Dan Gargan took the Voyageurs Cup into the Southeast stands.

“That’s for all the fans, not just the most vocal section, we all know that they’re just as important whether they’re in 103 or 108, it doesn’t really matter,” Gargan told the Sun.

“We all wanted to share that with them because we all know how important that support is.

“They work almost as hard as we do on the field. They’re singing and dancing all game long so they deserve that just as much.”

The Whitecaps were disappointed to waste a solid start.

“With so much at stake, this is where players need to step up and do it. We were left wanting,” said midfielder Terry Dunfield.

“We stopped playing a little bit. Over the course of the next 70 minutes, they became men and we became boys,” added Cannon, the keeper.

“They wanted it more ... they out-fought us, out-hustled. Maybe it was the crowd that lifted them but, whatever. It was just really kinda gut-wrenching, because we knew this was our season, and to see guys just ... I don’t want to say or call anyone out, but they were going through the motions ... We were second best.”


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