TORONTO – It wasn't the hoped for result, but Vancouver kept themselves within striking distance for the Voyageurs Cup following a 1-0 loss at Toronto FC in the opening leg of the 2016 Amway Canadian Championship finals.
The defending-champion Whitecaps, who raised the trophy for the first time last season, will look to overturn the deficit next week at home in the second leg after a mixed showing at BMO Field on Tuesday night.
“It was an interesting game,” said Carl Robinson after the game. “We were the better team in the first half. We were unable to get the goal, then conceded a goal with a deflection. Unlucky, but Toronto were the better [team] in the second [half] and we were lucky not to concede a second goal.”
“It was probably a fair result."
Vancouver were impressive through the opening 25 minutes, outplaying the hosts. But just before the break - in the 43rd minute, to be exact - Sebastian Giovinco struck with a drive that nicked off Kendall Waston before finding the back of the net.
“It's sick to let up a goal so close to half-time, especially with the way we played,” said Robinson. “You can feel sorry for yourself, or you can brush yourself down and go again. Sport sometimes kicks you in the backside. It did on Saturday for us [in a 2-1 home loss vs. the New England Revolution], unfortunately, and it did just before half-time.
"Sometimes you've got to roll your sleeves up and do the dirty jobs. We did that in the second half, dodged a few bullets, showed a lot of character.”
Added Russell Teibert: “We were hard done by to go down. That's the way soccer goes sometimes. It's how you bounce back.”
The Whitecaps will have to bounce back at home in front of their home crowd at BC Place next week, and the onus is on them to come out and find a goal after losing in the first leg. Nonetheless, Vancouver believe they have it in them to get the job done.
“It's the first half of a cup-tie,” said Teibert. “We go to Vancouver only a goal down. That's a positive we can take. We were two goals down to Ottawa [in the previous round], so we know we can bounce back. We're looking forward to going home.”