Rocket Robin Report: Canadian Championship – Toronto FC vs Ottawa Fury FC

Editor’s Note: As Robin’s articles are originally published elsewhere and merely reprinted here, they are presented unedited. They are merely reformatted to improve the way they display on our site. NSXI takes no ownership or responsibility for the content, spelling, grammar or the opinions expressed below.

Result and details of the Wednesday May 31, 2017 Canadian Championship Semi-Final second leg between Toronto FC and Ottawa Fury played at BMO Field at 7:00pm.

40 min…TFC (Ottawa own goal) GOAL…TFC Jordan Hamilton crosses from far right that has TFC Tsubasa Endoh send in a low cross from 10 yards on the far right. With TFC Justin Morrow waiting near the left post for a tap-in, OF Eddie Edward nudges the ball into his own net from 2 yards.

41 min…TFC Tsubasa Endoh GOAL…TFC Victor Vazquez rushes down left and crosses ball from 28 yards to charging Endoh who at 10 yards and even with the left post flicks a header into the right side of the net.

79 min…TFC Marky Delgado GOAL…TFC Sebastian Giovinco rolls ball forward and to left from 30 yards in middle and TFC Victor Vazquez just inside left side of OF box sends low cross along 7 yard line and Delgado one-times low shot forward into right side of net.

84 min…TFC Sebastian Giovinco GOAL…TFC Victor Vazquez in middle at 40 yard line passes forward to charging Giovinco at 25 yards who takes low shot down middle that sprawling goalie Callum Irving get a piece of but ball rolls into left side of net.

Final Score:…..Toronto FC……4……Ottawa Fury……0…..
(TFC wins series 5-2 on aggregate)

Attendance was not announced but reporter Neil Davidson wrote as 15175. That’s more than 10000 less than the last game on Friday against MLS  opponent Columbus Crew. The weather was mild and sunny. This was the second game in a row where the tickets were printed back in February with a 7:30pm start and were changed for television purposes to 7:00pm. It was a work night so the fans that did show up had a hard time getting here in time fighting the rush hour traffic. MLSE ownership even gave me a ‘free’ ticket up in the upper deck because I’m a TFC II season ticket holder. I suppose if I had a pair they would have given me two tickets. I only got it with four days to spare so couldn’t talk a friend into going on such short notice.

Ottawa looked like they would need all night to score and had a few chances in the first thirty minutes but when they got behind and needed goals they couldn’t muster anything.

Referee Geoff Gamble gave out no cards this game which was not rough at all. Without a few offside calls against both teams it would be easy to forget there were officials on the field.

TFC scoring two goals in two minutes not only flipped the game around but the entire series because two goals turned the overall score from them being behind 2-1 to being ahead 3-2 and now TFC didn’t have to score but needed to make sure Fury didn’t score an away goal. TFC scoring at 79 minutes really eased the pressure.

TFC and Ottawa were ‘forced’ to use three Canadians in their starting lineup by the rules of the Canadian Championship. TFC subbed two of them off before the second half started although one was because of injury. Fury left their three Canadian starters in the full 90 minutes.

The TFC lineup was depleted by midfielder/captain Michael Bradley and forward Jozy Altidore both being away with the US national team. Their third designated player, Sebastian Giovinco, started the game on the bench.

Putting Giovinco in the game at halftime meant he was always a threat in the second half and maybe his quad strain injury had been exaggerated. The injury seemed to have no effect holding him back and tonight was maybe just rusty as he blasted a freekick into the player wall as well as shooting wide but he did have a nice bender to the bottom corner which forced a diving save and of course his goal which the goalie couldn’t handle. Some messages I’ve read say he’d play tonight on the soft grass and not in the weekend MLS game against New England on their hard astroturf. That surface ruined Danny Koevermans’ career. It was Giovinco’s first appearance since leaving during the Minnesota United game on May 13.

There was no Man of the Match winner (who is always a TFC player) announced at the game tonight. I suspect the sponsor wasn’t included just like there was nothing to do at halftime with no pizza nor ice cream giveaway held. I would have given it to Tsubasa Endoh with his goal and assist which was credited as an Fury own goal. He didn’t start well with off target shots and crosses but settled in nicely. Endoh played more with TFC in his rookie year in 2016 but this year is relegated to TFC II where he takes many of the freekicks and cornerkicks.

Clint Irwin earned the shutout with not much to do. He looked shaky very early in the game but later just had to catch a few crosses.

The Ricketts injury will be a problem if it’s serious because not only is he important for TFC but the Canadian National team needs him as they have little offensive punch. Canada (rank #108) plays Curacao (#70) in Montreal later this month.

Fury have some big players like defender Onua Obasi and midfielder Lance Rozeboom who dwalfed Giovinco in size. Up front they were shorter and taller players that could head the ball might have gotten more chances on goal as almost everything in the TFC box was poked away by a defender.

Next year the Canadian Championship opens up to more teams (for 2018 it will be months before the CanPL teams get started) but I can’t see any situation except giving the MLS teams byes until the semi-finals or there will be massive blowouts. I’m sure MLSE will point out the poor attendance as another reason MLS teams should be kept out until the end.

Now TFC moves on to play Montreal in a two game series to choose the 2017 Canadian Championship. If TFC ‘lose’ they will be in a one game playoff against Montreal held here in Toronto to decide who will advance to the CONCACAF championship as TFC won in 2016 then didn’t get to play as the organizers decided to give MLS teams a bye into the knockout rounds next February.

Ottawa will be back in Toronto to play TFC II in USL action on Saturday July 8 at 7:30pm at Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan.

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Robin Glover

Robin Glover

Robin has been writing about soccer in the Toronto area for message boards and his own website since the early 1990s in the days of 2400 baud modems to USENET sites. In the 2014 season he attended 76 games in various leagues that played in the GTA area. Follow Robin on Twitter and on his website

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