Toronto FC suffered a disastrous opening to their 2019 Concacaf Champions League campaign on Tuesday night, falling 4-0 to Panamanian upstarts Club Atletico Independiente at Estadio Agustin Sanchez in La Chorrera, Panama.
The result puts the Reds in a deep, deep hole as they return to BMO Field to host the second and decisive leg of the round-of-16 clash next week, requiring them to produce a rout of equal or greater proportion to overturn CAI's hefty aggregate advantage.
Unfortunately for head coach Greg Vanney, he and his staff may find relatively little to build on in this match. TFC fell behind early thanks to some slack defending on Abdiel Ayarza's opener, then spurned a chance to equalize after half an hour when debutant Terrence Boyd fired a penalty kick over the crossbar after Laurent Ciman was fouled in the Independiente penalty box.
It got worse after halftime. Lunging in on Omar Browne with little cover behind him, Ciman was exposed by the Panamanian's quick feet, leaving Browne with space to blast a swerving shot past Alex Bono into the far top corner of the net.
Romeesh Ivey piled on with a third mere moments later, and later added a fourth against a demoralized Reds side who will need to summon a performance for the ages if they are to extend their CCL adventure beyond next week.
- 9' – CAI – Abdiel Ayarza
- 48' – CAI – Omar Browne
- 52' – CAI – Romeesh Ivey
- 78' – CAI – Romeesh Ivey
- THE BIG PICTURE: It's a gloomy one for TFC, who were not only outplayed but outfoxed, outfought and out-thought by their unfancied hosts. This was a result poor enough to raise questions that tower far higher than just this CCL campaign.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Ciman's rash dive in on Browne and the resulting golazo doubled the lead, deflated the Reds' composure and set the tone for their miserable second half.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Not much competition for this title; Auro's handling of a hybrid inverted right back role narrowly edges 19-year-old substitute (and TFCII player) Jacob Shaffelburg's scrappy spirit in his 33 second-half minutes.
- TOR: Tuesday, Feb. 26 vs. CAI (2nd leg, 8 pm ET | YahooSports.com, UDN, TSN4)
- CAI: Saturday, Feb. 23 at Tauro (7 pm ET)