Raheem Edwards - Toronto FC - TSN

Ottawa Fury vs. Toronto FC | 2017 Canadian Championship Match Preview

Ottowa Fury vs. Toronto FC
2017 Canadian Championship Semifinals, 1st Leg
TD Place Stadium - Ottowa, Ontario
Tuesday, May 23 - 7 pm ET
WATCH: TSN 1 (Canada)

Toronto FC forward Raheem Edwards is the embodiment of a young player who can use an opportunity in the Canadian Championship to turn heads and make inroads.

He's also a little peeved -- presumably like his most of his teammates -- that Toronto hasn't already earned a spot in next year's CONCACAF Champions League after winning the Voyageurs' Cup last year.

Edwards, then a call-up from Toronto FC II of the USL, had come on as an 86th-minute substitute in the second leg of last year's final against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Therefore he was on the pitch when Will Johnson's dramatic stoppage-time strike gave Toronto the away goal that sealed the title, despite a 2-1 away defeat on the night.

"It was fantastic," Edwards told the Toronto FC website. "I didn't believe I was going to go in, but when I came in, it was a surreal moment."

There was still a catch. Because of the change of format to the CONCACAF Champions League announced in January, Toronto was not guaranteed a berth into the 2017-18 competition. Instead, they must either win the Canadian Championship again in 2017, or a one-match playoff match against this year's winner slotted for BMO Field on Aug. 9., if necessary.

Asked if that gives the Reds a chip on their shoulder, Edwards replied, "Exactly. But what can we do other than win it again?."

Ottawa Fury

The Fury advanced to the semifinals after defeating the NASL's FC Edmonton 4-2 on aggregate earlier this month, including an impressive 3-2 away victory in the second leg on May 10. In USL play, Ottawa is coming off just its second win of the season, a 4-3 victory over Red Bulls II.

With Toronto expected to make plenty of call-ups from its USL side, it may be worth looking back at Toronto FC II's meeting with Ottawa, a 0-0 draw that saw Fury defender Andrae Campbell sent off in the 84th minute.

  • Suspensions: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: N/A

Projected Starting XI (4-5-1): Callum Irving (GK) – Andrae Campbell, Onua Obasi, Shane McEleney, Eddie Edward – Sito Seoane, Lance Rozeboom, Sergio Manesio, Jamar Dixon, Michael Salazar – Tucker Hume

Notes: Ottawa are making just their second semifinal appearance after also reaching that stage last year. They did claim an MLS scalp in a 2-0 home first leg win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, but Vancouver responded with a 3-0 home win to take the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

Toronto FC

Expect Toronto FC to give plenty of run to their young players after a particularly brutal early schedule that has seen the Reds play four of their last five matches on short rest.

The 21-year-old Edwards seems a good bet to start again after alternating back and forth between the Starting XI and the subs bench over the last four league games. There's also 23-year-old midfielder Jay Chapman, who has had a more limited MLS role this season after appearing in more than half of Toronto's league matches in 2016.

And 21-year-old striker Jordan Hamilton seems likely to feature as well, having made his first appearance of the 2017 season as a late sub in Toronto's 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls last Friday.

  • Suspensions: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT – F Sebastian Giovinco (quad strain), D Nick Hagglund (torn MCL)

Projected Starting XI (3-5-2): Clint Irwin – Eriq Zavaleta, Brandon-Aubrey, Chris Mavinga – Tsubasa Endoh, Marky Delgado, Jay Chapman, Jonathan Osorio, Raheem Edwards – Tosaint Ricketts, Jordan Hamilton

Notes: Despite winning the Canadian Championship five times, this will be Toronto's first ever match in the competition against an opponent from Ontario. ... The Reds are playing their first Canadian Championship match against lower-division opposition since winning both legs of their semifinal against Edmonton FC in 2011.

All-Time Series

  • First Canadian Championship meeting