TORONTO – It may not have been a league victory, but Toronto FC will take it.
After another week of turmoil, 10-man TFC pulled out a 2-0 win over the Montreal Impact on Wednesday at BMO Field for their first win in any competition in nearly two months.
And this one gets them back in the finals of the Amway Canadian Championship for the fifth year in a row.
Playing down a man for 73 minutes after Richard Eckersley’s red card in the 17th, the Reds rode first-half goals from Reggie Lambe and Ryan Johnson to win Wednesday’s semifinal second leg, advancing 2-0 on aggregate.
Toronto turned the tide on last week’s 0-0 first-leg stalemate quickly, striking in just the second minute. Joao Plata was taken down after advancing the ball to the edge of the box. It rolled to Lambe on the right side of the area, and the Bermudian put a right-footed shot past Donovan Ricketts for a 1-0 lead.
Fifteen minutes later it looked like TFC would be tested sternly as Eckersley was shown red for his foul on Sinisa Ubiparipovic.
But Toronto stayed on the offensive and pressed despite their disadvantage. In the 38th minute Johnson, who has had a run of bad luck in league play, hammered home a loose ball off a corner kick to extend the Reds’ lead.
Montreal began to apply pressure against their shorthanded opponents early in the second half and Toronto ‘keeper Milos Kocic made a big reflex save on Davy Arnaud in the 53rd minute.
The Impact continued to press for goals and forced Kocic into a big save on Bernardo Corradi in the 59th minute and. Justin Mapp hit the crossbar in the 79th minute while Kocic was caught out of goal.
As the clocked ticked down, Toronto kept the Impact hemmed up in their own end for long periods of the time and came close to adding to the lead. Ricketts twice was forced to make saves.
The win was Toronto’s first in any competition since defeating the LA Galaxy on March 14 in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. Wednesday’s result was also their second clean sheet of the season in all competitions.
The Reds will face the Vancouver Whitecaps in the finals, which kick off May 16 at BC Place. The 'Caps defeated FC Edmonton 5-1 on aggregate to book a rematch for the Voyageurs Cup.
Still winless in league play, Toronto have a bye until May 19 when they travel to D.C. United.
Montreal will look to re-collect their momentum off a 2-0 upset at Sporting Kansas City last weekend. They’ll host the Galaxy on Saturday at Olympic Stadium.
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