Toronto FC were knocked out of the Canadian Championship on Tuesday night, falling 2-0 to CF Montreal at BMO Field.
Zachary Brault-Guillard scored the first in the 35th minute, sweeping a loose ball into an open net after Montreal stormed up the field from a dangerous Toronto free-kick. Chinonso Offor added the second four minutes later, getting his head on a left-sided Mathieu Choinière cross.
TFC would pull one back before half-time on a lovely bit of interplay that saw Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty surge forward before slipping a ball for Richie Laryea, who picked out Lorenzo Insigne for a close range finish.
Toronto would press for an equalizer in the second half, but could not find a way through a sturdy defensive effort from Montreal.
Having lifted the much-delayed 2020 Voyageurs Cup last season and lost the last two finals, TFC exit the tournament early this year.
“We spoke about the importance of this competition, the history that the club has had in the Canadian Championship,” said Bob Bradley post-match. “This game meant a lot to us tonight and going out is a big disappointment for all of us.”
“We understood the importance for our fans,” he continued. “We wanted to win and we wanted to win in front of our fans. We know how much it meant to them.”
Laryea’s disappointment was clear.
“It’s not good,” he said. “This is a tournament we want to win, a trophy we want to bring back to Toronto all the time, so not being able to advance is not good enough for this club.”
“This club has big aspirations and expectations, so that's not good enough,” Laryea continued. “We have the group to do it, the players. We obviously fell short tonight. It hurts to exit this early.”
POSTGAME SOUND | Richie Laryea - May 9, 2023
TFC started brightly enough, nearly taking the lead when Federico Bernardeschi and Brandon Servania linked up, but his shot was denied with CJ Sapong lurking.
An early injury to Alonso Coello Camarero and the two Montreal goals in quick succession changed the game.
“They didn't do anything to break us down. One comes from our set-piece and the second one as well, very preventable. They’re [not good] goals,” said Laryea. “We come back and do well to get one back; it's not enough.”
“We pushed hard in the second half, but when you're down two goals and they start sitting deep, it's difficult,” he continued. “A good response, but obviously not enough.”
Said Bradley: “We put ourselves in a hole. We started to respond in the first half, we get a good goal. And then we push hard in the second half and we're back to where the quality of crosses, touches at the end, that kind of stuff, still not enough to make more big chances.”
POSTGAME SOUND | Bob Bradley - May 9, 2023
It feels like every time Toronto finds a bit of consistency another player goes down, like every time the opponent has a half-chance it ends up in the back of the net. Sometimes a team just can’t catch a break.
“It does feel like that right now, but that's up to us,” underlined Laryea. “We need to, from the next training session – hopefully Alonso is okay, he's been doing really well – just get back to it and turn this around.”
“This is a very talented pool of players so we need to be able to pull it together and change the results,” he urged. “It’s very early in the season, we have a lot to play for, there's a lot of games to be played. We just need to keep pushing forward.”
Toronto will head to Montreal for the league portion of this back-to-back on Saturday.
Said Laryea: “We take what they did today and the stuff we can improve on and go for three points on the weekend.”