Toronto went into Wednesday night’s 2018 Concacaf Champions League final Leg 2 needing to win and score two goals to secure at least a shot at penalties.
They had to do it in Mexico, where only three MLS teams had ever won before in CCL play.
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They had to choose a starting XI from a group that was missing five regulars to injury, including four defenders.
They were playing a team with an unorthodox style that MLS teams rarely see.
Toronto won. Toronto scored two goals.
They watched Chivas de Guadalajara hoist the trophy after the game.
There lies a space in the world between good and not good enough. It’s possible to do everything right and fail.
Toronto did so much right in Guadalajara. Head coach Greg Vanney produced a creative, intelligent game plan. Michael Bradley stepped in to play an unfamiliar position. Jozy Altidore started Toronto’s rally with a double-meg goal. Sebastian Giovinco scored the type of shot we’ve come to expect from him. Nicolas Hasler dribbled two players to play a pinpoint pass for an assists. Marky Delgado and Jonathan Osorio combined marathon running with thoughtful positioning. Alex Bono made the big saves when Toronto needed them. You couldn’t point to a Toronto starter that didn’t have a good game.
Toronto didn’t choke. They didn’t blow it. They did everything right … or almost everything, at least. They were good. They just weren’t good enough.
It’s frustrating. It’s infuriating. It’s sad. It’s maddening. Yet I can’t find it in me to be mad at Toronto.
Unfortunately, it feels like these moments in American and Canadian soccer have come too often, too recently. But I’ll still come back tomorrow. Toronto will, too.
TFC were great tonight. They just happened to not be good enough.