Ansu Toure scored both goals on Tuesday night as the Vancouver Whitecaps took a 2-0 victory over visiting Toronto FC in 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship soccer action.
Toure's second goal from a left-footed boot late in the second was massive, all but ensuring Vancouver (3-1-0) receives the Voyageurs Cup trophy and a berth in the preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions League.
"Toronto is a good team," said Toure, a 27-year-old attack-minded winger who played for Miami FC Blues last season. "To score two goals against Toronto, that means so much for me."
Toronto (2-1-0) had several chances after Toure's first goal to draw even at Swangard Stadium, which was all they needed to advance to the next stage, something the Major League Soccer club desperately wanted after losing out last year to the Montreal Impact.
Now, Toronto will need to win by at least four goals on June 18 in a game in Montreal to match Vancouver's goal differential in the series.
The visitors had beaten Vancouver in a home game last month.
"The better team won on the night, no doubt about it," said Toronto coach Chris Cummins. "We didn't play well enough.
"I have to question hunger, desire, passion. Vancouver had that and we never did. I've openly questioned that and they (his players) are questioning that as well. If you don't show that passion, that desire, that willingness to compete, you are going to get nothing in this game. And that's exactly what happened to us."
Toure scored in the 31st minute after a miscue from Toronto FC's Greg Sutton. The keeper punched a shot by Wes Knight into play instead of over the net. The Liberian-born forward made no mistake.
Toronto came close to scoring on two separate occasions late in the first half.
Dwayne De Rosario chipped over keeper Jay Nolly but Lyle Martin cleared the ball just before it reached the goal-line.
Pablo Vitti then went in alone and struck the ball to the outside of the right post.
The visitors continued to apply pressure early in the second. A free kick in the 50th created danger, with Chad Barrett heading De Rosario's volley over the bar.
The pair hooked up again on a free kick just a few minutes later, but the effort was held close to the chest by Nolly.
Tempers flared early in the second, with a prolonged scrum between the sides. Toronto's Jim Brennan appeared to get away with bumping with his head but soon would draw yellow for a challenge
Carl Robinson made a bid to make it 1-1, but shot right at Nolly.
Vitti and Charles Gbeke would be off target for each side in their attempts.
Gbeke was key on the final goal, masterfully controlling possession at the left edge of the box before spotting Toure. The game hero would burst past Kevin Harmse before blasting a shot that left Sutton helpless.