The 1-0 victory for Toronto FC over the Vancouver Whitecaps in the first leg of The Voyageurs Cup is a result that probably leaves both sides in a state of emotional flux.
The home side probably feel they could have got a second but will be equally relieved they didn’t concede an important away goal whereas Vancouver will be pleased to have survived an early second half onslaught from TFC but must be ruing their inability to find the net.
All to play for at BC Place next week then.
It was no surprise to see Carl Robinson ring the lineup changes but perhaps it was a surprise to see Kah and Waston both starting in central defence and Teibert and McKendry both getting the nod in midfield, but the Whitecaps were the better team in the first half and were unlucky to fall behind to a deflected Giovinco shot.
The second half was a different story however as TFC gradually turned the screw and we were once again faced with the sight of Octavio Rivero becoming more and more isolated as the rest of the team began to sit deeper and deeper inviting pressure on to them.
Robinson doesn’t always get his substitutes right but this time he did as the introduction of Pérez for an ineffective Morales and Manneh for Davies almost immediately wrestled the momentum away from the home team.
The Whitecaps never really looked like fashioning a clear opening from that point on but neither did Toronto and the game ended with both sides torn between the Scylla of pushing men forward and the Charybdis of leaving men back.
No wonder there was no further breakthrough.
For the Whitecaps there was a decent outing from Ben McKendry, a much needed one for Sam Adekugbe and fifteen year old Alphonso Davies once again didn’t seem completely out of place among a field of professionals.
It was also good (and a relief) to see both Waston and Kah have solid and uneventful games at the back and any team that nullifies Giovinco to one lucky strike over ninety minutes is doing something right.
Carl Robinson can take a fair degree of satisfaction from the evening; he rested important players, gave returning players valuable minutes and his team are still in a good position to retain the Cup.
But that lack of away goal may be the one thing to really play on his mind when he looks back at this game.
Time then for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Tornaghi-6, Aird-5, Adekugbe-6*, Waston-6, Kah-6, Teibert-5, McKendry-6, Bolaños-6, Morales-5, Davies-5, Rivero-5