Fielding a reserve-heavy side, TFC took the lead in the 35th minute via Benoit Cheyrou. Sporting the captain's armband on the night, the Frenchman blazed through a Fury back line caught flat-footed by his one-two combination with Jordan Hamilton and clipped a neat finish over Callum Irving in the Ottawa goal.
The Fury would draw level in the 57th minute from the penalty spot after a mad goalmouth scramble sparked by a Ramon Del Campo header off the post, culminating in a handball call on Mitch Taintor. Justin Williams dispatched the spot kick past TFC goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
56' Goal Ryan Williams. Ottawa Fury FC 1:1 Toronto FC pic.twitter.com/5KmUhjA7by— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) May 24, 2017
Ottawa were resurgent after the equalizer and took the lead through Sito Seoane in the 72nd minute. An ill-advised back pass by Jay Chapman put the Toronto defense under pressure and Tucker Hume's physical play kept the ball live, allowing Seoane to score on a massive deflected effort.
The two teams will meet against next Wednesday when the series resumes at BMO Field (7 pm ET | TSN network). The victor will play the winner of the other semifinal between the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
- 35' – TOR – Benoit Cheyrou
- 57' – OTT – Ryan Williams (PK)
- 72' – OTT – Sito Seoane
- LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Cheyrou led TFC out on the evening and scored the game's opening goal. When he was forced off with a knock, it was no surprise that TFC conceded the second. The veteran Frenchman has a reputation for big moments, such as the crucial playoff goal against Montreal last season, and was awarded the George Gross Memorial Trophy (MVP) in last season's Canadian Championship.
- DAVID DROPS GOLIATH: Ottawa were certainly not cowed against their MLS opponent; not even when going down a goal. Come the second half, that fearlessness paid off, not just in the two goals, but also in numerous chances, such as when Williams rippled the top of the goal with a dangerous free kick and Seoane tested Irwin, drawing a neat save from the TFC 'keeper.
- SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS: Disappointingly for Toronto, both Ottawa goals came from goalmouth scrambles where a no-nonsense clearance would have done the trick. On the PK call, TFC had several chances to clear the danger before Taintor was whistled for the handball. The same goes for the game-winner, when Toronto were unable to clear the threat, letting the ball fall to Seoane to do his thing.
- TOR: Friday, May 26 – vs. Columbus (7 pm ET | TSN1 in Canada, MLS LIVE in US)