TORONTO – Not much in 2018 has gone to plan.
But on Wednesday night at BMO Field, Toronto FC accomplished one of their principle goals of the season with a 5-2 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC, to claim the Canadian Championship 7-4 on aggregate and lift the Voyageurs Cup for the third-straight season, earning themselves a spot in the next edition of the Concacaf Champions League in the process.
“A big night for many reasons,” said Greg Vanney post-match. “It's an event that we enjoy, our guys take a lot of pride in and it's also a way for us to get to the Champions League for an opportunity to make another run.”
Jonathan Osorio, who scored in the first leg and both against Ottawa Fury FC, added an assist in the finale and was named the tournament MVP, collecting the George Gross Memorial Trophy.
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“As a Canadian, it's really important for me and for this club to participate in this every year,” said Osorio. “And to win it for a third time in a row means a lot. It's our berth into the Champions League and another shot to make a run.”
Delicately balanced 2-2 after the first leg, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco broke the game open before halftime with a goal each. Instrumental to both was Marky Delgado, a late addition to the XI when Victor Vazquez was forced out before kickoff with a sore knee.
“I only had a few minutes to really get going before we went back inside,” explained Delgado. “Things worked out. Maybe this should be my routine for every game now.”
Altidore would complete his hat trick in the opening ten minutes of the second half, all but putting the match out of reach. Vancouver made it interesting with goals from Kei Kamara and Brek Shea, but Tosaint Ricketts added the coup de grace in the 80th minute, flicking in a free-kick from Michael Bradley.
“Tonight was a really important night in our season,” said Vanney. “League-wise, we haven't been able to take off the way we would like to. That was one of the reasons tonight was even more important.”
“It was a final, but it was also for us an important night to win a championship, get that back under our belt, to use it as a way to build confidence and momentum down this final stretch of 11 games,” continued Vanney. “If you don't win it, that's another kick in the gut to a group that has had a lot of challenges to deal with this year.”