This is what we play for.
Toronto FC takes on the Vancouver Whitecaps in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final at BC Place on Wednesday night at 10 PM ET. The Reds are holding a 1-0 lead heading into the title decider.
Sebastian Giovinco’s goal in the 43rd minute of the first leg at BMO Field is the difference between the two MLS sides. Clint Irwin will not be available for the match. The Charlotte native will be out for six weeks after suffering a quadriceps injury versus Orlando City SC on June 25. Michael Bradley will not play either. The TFC captain returned to Toronto after joining the team in Vancouver in order to reassess the knee injury he suffered while with the United States National Team.
Here are the keys to the match.
Come Out Strong
There is no doubt the Whitecaps will be looking to come out strong at home in front of their fans. What Carl Robinson’s side was not able to do at BMO Field, however, is secure a crucial away goal.
TFC can change the dynamic of the match by getting an away goal of their own early. With Sebastian Giovinco in the fold and Jordan Hamilton in fine form the Reds can take the game on the fast turf at BC Place.
"It's going to be an exciting game, we know that,” said Robinson before the match. Robbo is right.
Benoit Cheyrou has been magnificent for the Reds throughout the last month, providing veteran leadership and a steady hand in front of a back four that has been terrific this season.
There are some wrinkles in the mix now, with Irwin sidelined and a young shotstopper, whether it’s Alex Bono or Quillan Roberts, in goal.
In the first leg Greg Vanney employed a diamond formation, with Cheyrou as the protector in front of the back four. With TFC on the frontfoot in terms of the scoreline, look for Will Johnson to work alongside the Frenchman.
Time To Shine
If Alex Bono is the choice in goal he will have to deal with a lot. It wasn’t easy coming on so late against Orlando and the parameters change considerably when a Cup final is involved.
His teammates believe the Syracuse product can perform on the big stage.
“He has great feet,” said defender Nick Hagglund. “He’s someone that we can trust and send the ball back to.” “He’s someone that will distribute well and that means we can hold on to the ball.”
Watch the match at 10 PM ET on TSN 4 on Wednesday night.