Toronto FC rarely hit top gear on Tuesday night, but they didn't have to.
The Reds calmly managed the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 matchup vs. the Colorado Rapids to secure a 0-0 draw at BMO Field, thus clinching a 2-0 aggregate series victory and advancement for the Canadian side thanks to last week's 2-0 win in Colorado.
TFC will now advance to face reigning Mexican champions Tigres UANL in a juicy-looking CCL quarterfinal clash, the Liga MX giants having held off Costa Rican side Herediano 3-1 at the Estadio Universitario in Nuevo Leon on Tuesday to bank a 5-3 aggregate win.
Much like the frigid first leg in Commerce City last week, the Rapids held their own, threatening the Reds' goal repeatedly and drawing several classy saves out of goalkeeper Alex Bono. But the visitors' finishing was just as wasteful in Leg 2 as in Leg 1, with Dominique Badji in particular both profligate and unlucky, going closest with a low drive that clanged off the base of the post in the first half.
TFC were also inefficient in front of goal, as even Sebastian Giovinco failed to hit the target on several glaring chances amid an otherwise impressive outing.
TFC's first leg versus Tigres will be next Wednesday at BMO Field. Return game in Mexico will be on the following Tuesday. #TFCLive— Oliver Platt (@plattoli) February 28, 2018
- The Big Picture: Toronto will have to be much sharper and more ruthless to trouble Tigres. But Colorado just didn't do quite enough to knock them out of their well-established rhythm, and coach Anthony Hudson's postgame remarks hint at the lack of urgency to do so:
- Moment of the Match: Badji failed to convert a potentially series-changing one-on-one with Bono early in the first leg, and in the 41st minute of Leg 2 he rattled the woodwork, a bid that might've rattled TFC's confident management of the game had it gone in.
- Man of the Match: Alex Bono. TFC's 'keeper made four saves to stifle any faint Rapids hopes of pulling off a stunning comeback, and patrolled his area well all night, including a brave late punch that led him into a bone-crunching aerial collision with Badji.
- TOR: vs. Columbus Crew SC (Saturday, 1 pm ET | TSN 1/4/5 in Canada, MLS LIVE in US)
- COL: at New England Revolution (Saturday, March 10 | 1:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE)