Other than qualification for the tournament final, of course, the emergence of Jordan Hamilton may be the most important thing to come out of this month's Voyageurs Cup fixtures. Prior to kicking off their Canadian championship campaign, Toronto FC was a club in poor form.
They had not won in four games and had scored just once in their past three matches en route to a pair of draws and losses. Even worse, three of those games were played in front of the home fans at BMO Field, a stadium that Toronto FC has been adamant they want to turn into a fortress.
That's why it was so stunning when they opened the Voyageurs Cup by scoring four goals in a dominant performance against the Montreal Impact. At the centre of that performance was rarely used Canadian youngster Jordan Hamilton, who scored twice and made a serious case for more playing time going forward.
In fact, Toronto FC may need Hamilton if they want to continue to turn things around tomorrow against the Los Angeles Galaxy. In Hamilton, Toronto FC has found the potential missing piece to an offence that has been suffering ever since Jozy Altidore was sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Hamilton is a true striker in every sense of the word, and therefore a very rare breed around the Toronto FC locker room. The club has experimented with Sebastian Giovinco and Mo Babouli in the middle of attack, and for the most part, it hasn't worked.
Babouli and Giovinco are creative players who are a lot more effective when paired with a traditional striker, rather than playing one themselves. They are not particularly good at hold up play, and neither has the physical attributes to consistently bring down long balls from the back.
Hamilton's hold up play was excellent in both legs against Montreal. What he did on and off the ball allowed players like Babouli and Jonathan Osorio to get further forward and create multiple chances.
A couple of those chances he even finished himself, and finished them well. That sort of clinical finishing has also become painfully rare around Toronto FC. Twice, Hamilton shook off Montreal defenders in the box and found the back of the net powerfully. It was reminiscent of what Altidore can do when he is at his best.
Hamilton is not nearly as good as Altidore, nor should that be expected for someone who has never started an MLS match. But he does a good enough imitation of the club's American DP that he should be given the chance to start in his spot until Altidore is ready to return from injury.
Toronto FC has played its best soccer this season when Giovinco is working off of Altidore and therefore can have the space he needs (sometimes he doesn't even need it) to create chances for himself and his teammates. Altidore holds up play for Giovinco, gets him the ball and then the Atomic Ant goes to work.
Hamilton filling that role could be just what the doctor ordered for a limping Toronto FC offence, at least until Altidore is fully fit from injury. It gives Toronto FC its best chance of getting a result this weekend against the LA Galaxy, and then again on Tuesday in the Canadian Championship.