Toronto FC takes a 2:0 lead over Ottawa Fury FC in Canadian Championship Semi-Final

Toronto FC took a 2:0 lead over Ottawa Fury FC in the opening leg of the Canadian Championship Semi-Final at TD Place in Ottawa, ON. The teams will face off in the return leg on 14 August at BMO Field in Toronto. The USL side earned their spot in the semi-final round with a 5:4 aggregate victory over HFX Wanderers FC of the Canadian Premier League. Toronto FC entered the competition in the Semi-Final round as they look to defend their Canadian Championship title.

Just three minutes into the match, Toronto FC’s Patrick Mullins was played in by Marky Delgado behind the two Ottawa centre backs, but his shot went just wide of the far post. A minute later, Tsubasa Endoh was denied by Ottawa keeper Callum Irving. In the 22’, Fury FC captain Carl Haworth’s free kick from just outside of the Toronto FC penalty area didn’t get quite enough dip on it after getting past the wall and sailed just over the near corner.

With Ottawa beginning to put more pressure on the MLS side, Toronto keeper Alex Bono came out aggressively and stood tall to be able to make a strong kick save on Christiano Francois (26’) who had muscled his way past a defender to get a clear look at goal.

A Toronto FC corner in the 30’ was misjudged by the Ottawa keeper and Delgado was able to knock it down. It was Toronto captain Drew Moor who volleyed the ball with a well-executed scissor kick hard into the back of the net to give the visitors a 1:0 lead and an important away goal.

Early in the second half, Ottawa’s Hadji Barry found himself behind the defence momentarily but Erik Zavaleta was able to recover and get in a timely challenge to take the ball away before the attacker had the opportunity to get a shot away. In the 65’, Chris Mannella ran into open space and his clear shot from outside the box forced Bono to make a diving save. The away side’s keeper was able to push the ball away from danger and it rolled within a foot of the post.

In the 69’, another Haworth free kick from a similar position to the one in the first half went a couple of feet over the top corner.

Late in the match, the visitors had three excellent chances to double their lead. In the 85’, Erickson Gallardo picked out Mullins, whose shot ended up going wide. On the following play, an Ottawa giveaway gave Jacob Shaffelburg the ball in a dangerous position. He was forced wide but was still able to get a shot away from a very tight angle that ended up in the side netting. A minute later, Gallardo took a shot that Irving was equal to as he parried it away for a TFC corner.

In the 89’, Gallardo took another strong shot that Irving did well to punch away from danger. Toronto kept the pressure on, and Endoh doubled the defending champions’ lead with a strike that was created by an Ottawa giveaway (90+1’).

Ottawa Fury FC’s starting XI was backstopped by Canadian keeper Callum Irving. Canadian Carl Haworth captained the side and was joined by fellow Canadians Thomas Meilleur-Giguére and Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé along with Dakota Barnathan to make up the defence. Wal Fall, Charlie Ward, and Canadian Chris Mannella formed the midfield. Kevin Oliveira, Hadji Barry, and Christiano Francois rounded out the home squad.

Ottawa coach Nikola Popovic brought on Canadian Maxim Tissot to replace Gagnon-Laparé, Thiago de Freitas came on for Mannella,

Toronto FC’s starting XI featured and goalkeeper Alex Bono joining Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta, and Canadian Ashtone Morgan as the defensive line. Canadians Richie Laryea and Liam Fraser teamed up with Justin Morrow and Marky Delgado in midfield, and Tsubasa Endoh, Nicolas Benezet, and Patrick Mullins formed the attack.

Coach Greg Vanney brought on Canadian Jacob Shaffelburg in the place of Morgan at halftime. Canadian Jonathan Osorio replaced Delgado and Erickson Gallardo came on for Benezet.

 

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