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Reinforcements at the ready for Toronto FC for second leg against Montreal

TORONTO – To stick or twist, that is the question facing Greg Vanney and Toronto FC as they prepare for the second leg of their Amway Canadian Championship series against Montreal Impact on Wednesday, June 8 at Stade Saputo.

TFC have a two-goal advantage after beating the Impact 4-2 in Toronto, but those two late away goals have made progression uncertain.

That result was inspired by excellent performances from reserves. Jordan Hamilton scored a brace, Dan Lovitz and Ashtone Morgan were electric wide, while Eriq Zavaleta and Nick Hagglund went toe-to-toe with Didier Drogba, coming out the better for 85-plus minutes. 

A week on, Vanney has a selection headache – dance with the ones who brought him, or draft in experience?

“They made my life difficult; that's their job,” Vanney said on Monday after training. “A lot of guys earned another match, the opportunity to finish this tie off. But going into Montreal the context is different, so I have some decisions to make. We've got to find the right balance.”

Among those back in consideration: Sebastian Giovinco, Will Johnson, and Drew Moor, who is “itching to play” after the birth of his son, Joseph Anthony, last week.

Moor was in full training, while Giovinco and Johnson participated for portions of it. “I would like for them to be involved in the game,” Vanney said of all three. “My decision will be how.” 

“The guys performed extremely well [last week]; we want to keep that momentum going forward into a tough place to play,” said Moor. “Montreal will feel like they kept themselves in it with late goals. We have to be ready for them to come at us, but also to take our chances.”

“We feel good [up by two],” said Jonathan Osorio, who scored a brace in the first leg. “We have to play smart. They're the home team now; they're going to come out gunning.”

Vanney cautioned that the first goal will prove the most important. “It will set the stage for the remainder of the game," he said. "We're going to look for it, and in the right ways.”

“We want to keep things safe, [but] we can't just sit back and absorb tons of pressure,” added Moor. “It's got to be a nice balance. We have the guys and organization to do that.”

Expectant of Voyageurs Cup glory, TFC will benefit from the absence of Ignacio Piatti from Montreal's squad--but they must contend once more with Drogba, who scored and assisted in the opener. “He can turn things around in a second,” Osorio said. “Have to be very cautious with him.”

The same goes for what they expect will be an unfriendly crowd.

“The atmosphere is a bit different now, everybody is against you,” said Osorio, grinning. “We're going to use that to our advantage.”