TORONTO – Victory is always nice, but when it is by the most slender of margins, especially in a two-legged series, it leaves scant room for comfort.
Toronto FC moved one step closer to their first Voyageurs Cup since 2012 with a 1-0 win against Vancouver Whitecaps in the opening leg of the Amway Canadian Championship Finals at BMO Field on Tuesday night.
Sebastian Giovinco scored the game's only goal in the waning moments of the first half, but whether that strike will hold through the second leg in Vancouver next Wednesday remains to be seen.
“We were terrible in the first half and much better in the second,” said Toronto head coach Greg Vanney in his post-match press conference. “Ironically, we scored in the first and didn't in the second. We woke up at half-time, started taking advantage of the spaces that were available, got better numbers in attack, and created chances.
“From an attacking standpoint, I thought the second half was some of our best, collective soccer of the year."
Vanney also called it “a step in the right direction.” His players agreed.
“It's very simple,” said Giovinco. “The first half was bad, one of our worst, and then second half we turned it around and it became one of our best. We couldn't score that second goal. We have to stay attentive for the next match.”
A single goal leaves the series delicately poised.
“We wish it could be more, but we can keep clean sheets,” said goalkeeper Clint Irwin. “We're comfortable with that. They have to come out, attack us and, hopefully, give us the space to get a goal. We know that an away goal would be huge.”
“It’s not ideal, but at the same time, we didn’t really give them anything."
That will once again be the plan at BC Place next week, but Toronto FC know that they might still need to find the back of the net in order to raise the championship trophy.
"We're 1-0 up, so we go there, defend like we've been defending and make sure we play like we played in the second half," said Vanney. "[If we] finish a chance then it makes it an uphill battle for them because they'll have to come up with three. At the end of the day, there's no way of knowing until we play it all out.”