Toronto FC readily dispatched their Canadian rivals, the Montreal Impact, in the first leg of the 2016 Amway Canadian Championship semifinals on Wednesday night with a 4-2 win at BMO Field.
There was a definite domestic feel to the evening, as both sides took the opportunity to field a plethora of homegrown talent; all four goals scored by TFC were netted by Canadians, with Jonathan Osorio grabbing the first two and Jordan Hamilton netting a pair of his own.
“Felt great. It's been a while,” said Osorio after the game – his last goal came Aug. 1, 2015 in New England. “But more [important] to win. It's a good advantage we have to take into Montreal.”
“It's always special to score against Montreal. They're our rivals, especially for me, being from here, it probably means a little more.”
“[Jonathan] was calm in the box, composed; picked his spots and put them away” said TFC head coach Greg Vanney. “It's good for us as a team because we need Osorio to get his share of goals. [He's] gotten himself into good positions over the season; he's just been unable to break the seal.”
While Osorio had waited months, Hamilton, who signed a Homegrown contract prior to the start of the 2014 season, had to be patient even longer – the goals were his first in a competitive match for the first team.
“My job is to score goals,” said the 20-year old striker. “That was a moment I've been dreaming about for three years now. Luckily, I got to do it twice in one night.”
Alongside the goals, Toronto also got solid performances out of Ashtone Morgan, Mo Babouli, and Jay Chapman, to continue the Canadian theme – never mind the return of the sublime Benoit Cheyrou and Daniel Lovitz tearing up Montreal's flank.
With the score at 4-0, Vanney was able to give debuts to a pair of TFC II standouts: Malik Johnson and Brian James. It didn't quite work as planned, in that Montreal were able to nick two goals at the end, offering a glimmer of hope in the series, but even after the game Vanney was happy to have given his young charges the opportunity.
“For them to get the feel for the high pace, intensity [of the] game, even if just for ten minutes. It's motivating for them and for us,” Vanney said. “It's our future.”