Toronto Advances To NCC Final
TORONTO— Holding a 3-0 lead in aggregate following the first leg of its Nutrilite Canadian Championship semi-final tie against Edmonton, Toronto FC did just enough to advance to the final with a 1-0 win over the expansion Edmonton side at BMO Field Wednesday and 4-0 win in the tie.
The Reds now await the winner between Montreal and Vancouver. The Whitecaps hold a 1-0 lead after winning 1-0 in Montreal last week. TFC is looking to win its third straight Voyageurs Cup. Editor's Note: Vancouver beat Montreal 2-1 on aggregate to earn a place in NCC Final against Toronto.
The story of the game was the play of diminutive striker Jaoa Plata. The 5’3” forward was all over the field and provided the crowd of 17,937 with its highlight of the night with a world class chip to Alan Gordon in the 21st minute. Plata’s ball allowed Gordon to stay onside by the tips of his toenails and put him in alone on Edmonton ‘keeper Lance Parker. Gordon made no mistake in firing home his second goal of the tournament.
With a 4-0 aggregate lead following the Gordon goal, the home side appeared to relax, but still held the vast majority of the possession. The gap in quality was evident, as TFC managed to hold Edmonton from getting a single scoring chance over the 90.
As the game lulled, Toronto’s spark continued to be Plata. Much of the attack appeared tro go through him and the game’s most inspired moments were off his foot.
In the 77th minte Plata was almost rewarded for his strong play when a broken play resulted in a loose ball falling to him on the top of the 18-yard box. His strike flashed the side of the post, perhaps pushed there by an outstretched Parker.
That would be as close as Toronto would come to a second goal, and fifth on aggragate. However, it was more than enough to send the club through to the NCC final. They will play the first leg on the road May 18th, before returning home for the Voyageurs Cup decided on May 25th.
The winner of the NCC will advance to the preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Toronto: Stefan Frei, Danleigh Borman, Adrian Cann, Ty Harden, Ricahrd Eckersley, Mikael Yourassowsky, Julian de Guzman (Matt Gold 72'), Tony Tchani (Nick Soolsma 72'), Joao Plata, Alan Gordon (Maicon Santos 65'), Jacob Peterson ... Substitutes not used: Milos Kocic, Dicoy Williams, Oscar Cordon, Javier Martina
Edmonton: Lance Parker, Niko Saler, Paul Hamilton, Dominic Oppong (Mutanda Kwesele 73'), Antonio Rago, Kyle Yamada, Chris Kooy, Sam Lam, Kyle Porter, Daniel Antoniuk (Shawn Chin 85'), Conrad Smith (Paul Craig 62') ... Substitutes not used: Jasminder Gill, Alex Surprenant, John Jonke, Eddy Sidra
Goal: Toronto - Gordon 21'
Caution: Toronto - Yourassowsky 60'