TFC swamped by Whitecaps - Toronto Star


Toronto botches chance to seal Canadian title, needs a miracle to reach the Champions League

DANIEL GIRARD

Toronto FC must now resort to second chances.

Going to Vancouver with an opportunity to clinch the Nutrilite Canadian Championship with a draw, TFC came up short last night in losing 2-0 to the Whitecaps.

Ansu Toure netted a goal in each half before a capacity crowd of 5,688 at Swangard Stadium.

With the win, Vancouver (3-1) moves to the top of the three-team competition. Toronto (2-1) can still capture the Voyageurs Cup and a place in the CONCACAF Champions League with a victory in the final game of the tournament June 18 in Montreal.

However, TFC will need a dominating performance against the Impact (0-3), the defending champions. Toronto will need to win by at least four goals or Vancouver will take the Cup.

Toronto defeated Vancouver 1-0 at BMO Field on May 6.

"I think we played very well and we thoroughly deserved it," a delighted Vancouver coach Teitur Thordarsson told Rogers Sportsnet.

Trailing 1-0 at halftime, Toronto poured it on to open the second half. As has happened so often this season, they generated a host of scoring chances but couldn't finish.

Striker Chad Barrett, who has struggled with his finish all season, had the best chance to tie the game. Dwayne De Rosario sent in a free kick in the 52nd minute that Barrett got his head on directly in front of the goal but put it right into the belly of goalkeeper Jay Nolly.

Five minutes later, De Rosario cracked a hard shot that Nolly dove to save.

In the 81st minute, Toure iced the win with a beautiful left-footed shot over TFC goalkeeper Greg Sutton, who started in place of Stefan Frei, out with a foot infection.

TFC missed leading scorer Amado Guevara and defender Marvell Wynne, both of whom were away at World Cup qualifying. But Vancouver was also missing two key players in injured leading scorer Marlon James and captain Martin Nash, out because of suspension.

The Whitecaps, needing a victory to keep their championship hopes alive, took the game to TFC from the opening whistle. They controlled the play for much of the first 30 minutes and pushed forward although they didn't generate much in terms of scoring chances.

But they were finally rewarded in the 31st minute.

Wes Knight hit a shot from the right side of the penalty area that Sutton got his hand on. But the ball dropped to the feet of Toure on the left edge of the goalmouth and he made no mistake, slotting it into a wide open net from six yards out.

That goal seemed to wake up Toronto. In the 38th minute, Pablo Vitti played a beautiful ball through to De Rosario in behind two Vancouver defenders. He was able to get his foot on the ball and flick it over a hard-charging Nolly toward the open net but defender Lyle Martin raced back and cleared it just before it crossed the goal line.

Three minutes later, it was De Rosario's turn to be playmaker. He sent Vitti down the right side and the Argentine's hard shot beat Nolly on the short side but hit the post.

Toronto outshot Vancouver 7-5 in the opening half, most of it in the latter portion of the half.