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They're alive! TFC win in Central America to set up a showdown with Santos Laguna. Hooray! Duncan recaps it all for you.
Why not. Last season after TFC got a result to keep their slim CCL qualification hopes alive going into the final away game, I somewhat giddily posted this, why not this year as well? Last year, they went into their final game needing an unlikely result and of course we got the 3-0 win in Dallas, and that's where the 'slim hopes' for this year end, as that's the result they'll need this year (or at least something better than 3-1), in Torreon against Santos Laguna. Muchas Gracias concacaf.
That worry is for another day though, today Toronto FC got a win! An honest to goodness win! It was never really in doubt from very early on in the contest (ie when Sportsnet One was still showing baseball), I mean sure Aguila looked hopeless in Toronto but who knows what can happen when travelling in concacaf, it could have been an awkward tie. Very quickly it was obvious it wouldn't be, Aguila still looked hopeless and didn't really seem like they cared much either in the first half, to the extent that even Aaron Maund looked comfortable out there.
Seriously he did, it may have been the long grass giving a little extra cushion to take the edge off his passes, more likely it was the lack of pressure, but he had a good first half, getting plenty of touches, going forward well at times and sending very few passes astray. His CCL performance was much better than his MLS showings, only spoiled with a terrible shot over the bar, it was all very Julian de Guzman of him.
TFC scored twice in that first half, the first after a deep cross from Ryan Johnson was headed back into the net from a very narrow angle by Quincy Amarikwa, the second a tap in for Terry Dunfield after Johnson completely muffed his first touch when through on the goalie and thus had to pass it across to Dunfield instead of scoring himself.
In the second half, Aguila came out with a lot more fight, literally as very soon after the restart there was an ugly tackle on Luis Silva, all studs on calf and he was subbed off a few minutes later, hopefully just a precaution. Though Aguila never really looked threatening, it was harder for TFC to get anything going, and Maund certainly went back to his normal self. Freddy Hall had to make a couple of saves, again nothing out of the ordinary, but he did it well and the game eventually fell back into the pattern of the first half.
Ryan Johnson hit the bar, Andrew Wiedeman came close, and eventually Terry Dunfield got his second of the game after Ashtone Morgan made a good overlapping run down the left to get a cross in which Dunfield bundled home, though the goalie almost stopped it.
A 3-0 win, a blessed relief in a way, but not much to get excited about really. They got the job done, though some would argue that 'the job' should have been to go out there and try their hardest from first to last to try and get the 6 goal win that would have given them the tiebreaker over Santos Laguna should that game end 3-1 in TFC's favour. A valid point, if hopelessly romantic about our future prospects.
The main thing to get worked up about was Sportsnet One's coverage. I totally get staying to the end of the baseball game, but surely one of their many many channels could have been switched. Even if not, surely there was no need to play the full half time show, that could have been cut short to at least join the second half at real time. Puzzling in this internet day and age, and it forced me into the stream option which I'm never keen on. At least the commentator on concacaf tv was entertaining with his general lack of TFC details, wacky pronunciations and his insistence on giving Reggie his full hyphenated Thompson Lambe (pronounced lambee) name. His best moment came when he tried going through TFC's injury woes, mentioning they were without the German Torsten Frings (loooooooooong pause), the Dutchman Danny Koevermans (another loooooooooooooong pause) and then just settling for 'among others' to finish the list off.
Just one more wacky concacaf quirk to go with the play acting, the long grass, the grossly unfair competition rules, and on way more occasions than made sense in last years competition, and for one more night tonight, that most wacky of things, a TFC win. Savour it kids, it could be a while before we get another.