TORONTO – It couldn't have ended any other way.
“It was important to win the championship in front of our fans,” shouted Giovinco with fireworks and music blasting. “It's a beautiful night. We win; I scored. It's good.”
Unlike last year’s Eastern Conference Championship, where the bottles remained corked, the team celebrated this achievement heartily post-match.
“This was a priority for us,” said captain Michael Bradley with a smile. “We want to win every trophy; compete for every competition we're in. At the end of the year we want to be the team that has held up the best, won the most, competed the hardest, and won the trophies. We got our first chance tonight.”
“It's always a crazy game against Montreal,” noted Clint Irwin. “But we know that we've got the character, mental toughness, to come back from whatever deficit.”
With an hour still to play, Bradley knew his side would be up for the fight.
“One of the best things about this group is that we've been so committed and concentrated on 90 minutes at a time,” he said. “You can't make up for last year in one game; it's 90 minutes at a time, a week at a time, over the course of an entire season. That's our mentality. It's been a good stretch. Enjoy this, but keep going.”
“It's a big night. We're able to lift a trophy in front of our fans, which is something very meaningful to us,” said head coach Greg Vanney. “With the way things went last year in the final, not being able to do so … Tonight was an important moment.”
Though Tuesday does not make up for that loss, it is a step on the road to doing so.
“This is why I came to the club,” said a beaming Bradley. “To be here on nights like this. This is the first one this year. There's more still out there for us and every guy is determined to keep going.”
The wider message was clear.
“We've got two more to go,” added Irwin.
Said Raheem Edwards, who set up Giovinco’s winner: “That's one out of three. We want the treble.”
TFC lead the race for the Supporters’ Shield at the halfway point of the MLS regular season. And the third trophy? That elusive MLS Cup.
“We're proud to be Canadian champions,” said a soaked Vanney. “That's one of our goals; we can now check off.
“It also gives us the opportunity to compete in [CONCACAF] Champions League, which is big for the guys in that locker room. We feel we have a team that can really compete to win – be the first,” he added. “Tomorrow we'll be back in, getting ready for the next game because that's how this team rolls. One game at a time, one play at a time. We continue on our process.”