Lessons learned - Sportsnet


Ryan Johnston

For Toronto FC, scoring four goals in Montreal was never really the issue. Instead, the issue lay in how the Reds would not concede.

All week the headlines were written that Toronto needed to score this many or that many to win, but very few paid any attention to the fact that conceding just a single goal made the equation almost impossible. Quite the oversight for a team which boasts a minus-3 in goal differential and has not registered a clean sheet since Game 1 of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.

So it came as no surprise when the Impact scored first. But the six unanswered goals that followed were nothing short of remarkable. Each goal and the next one to follow showed this team can play with desperation. And the ability to score when faced with dire straits is invaluable as the Reds now play on towards a first-ever playoff appearance as Voyageur Cup winners.

The six goals at Saputo Stadium were equally as impressive as they were well-worked. In fact, I was ready to write that the goal by Dwayne De Rosario may be the most spectacular meaningless goal scored in club history. Until he added a second and third while Amado Guevara and Chad Barrett chipped in on the way to six in total. Having a proven winner like De Rosario on the field and in the lineup is an intangible beyond description. Remember, De Ro was not around to experience the disappointment of one year ago but on Thursday he played like he held the grudge.

In the end Toronto didn't really beat the odds, but it did defy them. The Reds were expected to win the tournament; every facet of the early season was crafted to ensure that it happened. And just when it looked like all was lost the preparation paid off. Chris Cummins' crew looked fresh, hungry and ready in a game that two months ago only the people making the preparations knew would matter.

For Montreal, the lopsided defeat will not be easy to forget. It might even be safe to say that Montreal has yet to forget surrendering the equalizing and go ahead goal in stoppage time to Santos Laguna in last year's CONCACAF quarter-final. The club has already fired its coach this season and it seems that confidence will now be the second casualty.

For Vancouver, the agony of watching what seemed to be rightfully theirs' slip away due to the ineptitude of an opponent will also be difficult to forget. The third party defeat in Montreal comes in the wake of a week where Whitecap players fought each other on the field while winning.

All of a sudden next year's tournament can't come soon enough.

Follow TFC with Twitter. I update from training, on match days and whenever news breaks from the team.