Vancouver Whitecaps FC captured the Canadian Championship for the first time since 2015, beating Toronto FC 5-3 on penalties Tuesday night at BC Place after the teams played to a 1-1 draw through 90 minutes.
The Whitecaps converted all five of their shootout attempts, with defender Tristan Blackmon clinching 2022's Voyageurs Cup and a spot in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League in the fifth round.
The decisive penalty set off a wild celebration from the 24,307 fans at BC Place, with Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini stripping off his shirt and waving it above his head.
Toronto midfielder Jonathan Osorio was the lone player for either team not to convert, putting his attempt in the third round off the left post.
In a strange twist, Toronto FC were vying for a second Voyageurs Cup in less than two months after beating Forge FC on penalties to claim the 2020 championship, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
But Vancouver won the title for the second time in club history and joined Mexico’s Atlas, Tigres UANL, Club Leon and Pachuca in next year’s 16-team CCL, as well as Violette after the Haitian club won the 2022 Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship.
In advance of the final, Toronto FC head coach Bob Bradley singled out Ryan Gauld as a danger man for the Whitecaps and that was proven emphatically inside of 20 minutes when the Scottish DP intercepted a headed clearance and whipped a ball to the far post. Brian White did the rest, heading in off the hands of Alex Bono to put the hosts in front in the 19th minute.
After making their much-anticipated debuts in a 4-0 thrashing of Charlotte FC at BMO Field last Saturday night, both Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi were in Toronto FC's starting XI in Vancouver. And it was Insigne who possessed the most dangerous chance to level on the hour mark, but 'Caps goalkeeper Cody Cropper did well to dive to his left to push away his attempt targeted for inside the far post.
Bernardeschi played a starring role on Toronto's 75th-minute equalizer by providing world-class service with the outside of his right foot to Lukas MacNaughton, who leveled with his head.
Tosaint Ricketts nearly struck for the late winner on a quick counter, but Bono made a sensational one-handed save at the edge of the six-yard box to keep the match level at one.
That only delayed celebrations from the second largest Canadian Championship crowd ever, as the Whitecaps made the most of their first appearance in the final since 2018 when they fell to the Reds 7-4 on aggregate.
- 19’ — VAN — Brian White
- 75’ — TOR — Lukas MacNaughton