Toronto FC played the kids and were handsomely rewarded, but will be kicking themselves after giving up two goals to the rival Montreal Impact in the final five minutes of what ended up as a 4-2 home victory for the Reds at BMO Field.
Jonathan Osorio bagged an opportunistic first-half brace, getting the first goal from a bouncing Ashtone Morgan cross and the second from a rebound, but the game was truly turned on its head by a red card to Montreal's Patrice Bernier for a two-footed challenge in first-half stoppage time.
TFC continued to dominate the scoresheet in the second half, with Jordan Hamilton bagging his first two goals in a competitive play for the Reds. But the Impact gave themselves a life in the series in the dying minutes of the game, in no small part thanks to the heroics of star man Didier Drogba. The Ivorian forward put in a nifty cross to find a streaking Michael Salazar for the rookie's first professional goal in the 86th minute, before burying a trademark free kick in stoppage time to get the Impact right back in the series.
- 13’ – TOR – Jonathan Osorio (Ashtone Morgan)
- 34’ – TOR – Jonathan Osorio
- 60’ – TOR – Jordan Hamilton (Mo Babouli)
- 80' – TOR – Jordan Hamilton (Steven Beitashour)
- 86' – MTL – Michael Salazar (Didier Drogba)
- 90'+1' – MTL – Didier Drogba
- Full box score
- PLAY YOUR (CANADIAN) KIDS: Toronto FC trotted out a young starting lineup featuring plenty of young, homegrown talent, and those were the players that made the difference on the offensive end. Save for Steven Beitashour’s assist on the fourth goal, all of TFC’s goals and assists came from products of the Toronto Academy.
That wasn't lost on the TSN commentary crew, with former Canadian international Jason DeVos noting that the presence of eight Canadians across the two teams’ starting lineups (four on each side), as well as the success that the likes of Hamilton and Osorio had against a very strong Impact lineup, were signs that “Canadians can play at this level.”
- AWAY GOAL DRAMA: In league play, two goals at the end of a blowout loss are nothing more than a footnote. But in these two-legged series, where away goals count serve as the tiebreaker, the Impact’s late heroics might have turned the series on its head. The goals from Salazar and Drogba mean that Montreal can knock out their rivals with a 2-0 or 3-1 win (or a victory by any greater margin) next Wednesday at Stade Saputo.
It’s a funny old game, as the saying goes, and in a match during which they were so thoroughly humiliated for 86 minutes, the Impact somehow ended up getting the last laugh – a little chuckle, at the very least.
- TWO-FOOTED TANGO: The 401 Derby has always been a testy affair, with the rivalry between the two clubs rooted in years of back-and-forth in terms of results, not to mention the longstanding animosity between the two cities. Things were no different on Wednesday night, with Bernier’s brutal two-footed tackle on Daniel Lovitz and the resulting scuffle between the teams marking the end of a tetchy first half.
Clint Irwin shoving Ignacio Piatti to the ground and earning a yellow card for his trouble – the Argentine was clearly hoping for more, though, doing all he could to sell the shove as contact to his face.
Canadian Championship Highlight! Drogba with a gorgeous FK and then Piatti is shoved down. Crazy night in Toronto. pic.twitter.com/rYU9l8Ijq4— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) June 2, 2016
- MTL vs. TFC: Amway Canadian Championship Semifinal, 2nd Leg
Wednesday, June 8, 7:30pm ET; (MLS LIVE | TSN)