It was a moment of complete chaos in the Vancouver Whitecaps box. The 90 minutes, plus four minutes of stoppage time, had already been played. Players were down all over the penalty area as if some kind of storm had recently blown through. At the centre was Will Johnson, surrounded by teammates, clutching his leg. The ball was in the back of the net.
When the dust settled, two things became clear: Johnson had scored, and that goal meant that Toronto were the 2016 Voyageurs Cup Champions. It was a moment so sudden, so unexpected that its gravity took a second to sink in, as for most of the second half it looked like a foregone conclusion that the Whitecaps would win their second straight trophy.
Shock value or not, the importance of this result cannot be understated. Just when the seams started coming apart on Toronto FC's season, this Voyageurs Cup victory will sew a much-needed thread of confidence through the team.
It came from a last-gasp goal that Toronto FC is far more used to have scored against them. In fact, the most recent of a staggering amount of examples came this past Saturday when Orlando City SC scored eight minutes into stoppage time to pull out a 3-2 win over the visiting TFC. This time, however, Toronto FC would have the last laugh.
The fact that they did adds more positive re-enforcement to some strong performances for the club regardless of the result. It starts with the biggest question mark going into the match: 22-year-old Alex Bono making his first ever professional start in goal. He didn't answer all of the questions that have been asked since Clint Irwin went down to injury, but he certainly did his part to earn Toronto the result.
As did another debutant, 20-year-old Raheem Edwards. After signing a short-term contract to be available for Toronto FC in the match, the youngster provided an instant spark off the bench. He came close to scoring the decisive goal himself, and brought confidence and composure to both ends of the field. If it wasn't for Edwards getting back, Blas Perez likely would have scored on a late shot that struck the post. That would have all but ended Toronto FC's hopes.
In the midfield, Johnson and Benoit Cheyrou were their usual brilliant selves, especially in the first half. Cheyrou quite rightly won the tournament's MVP award for his outstanding performances in all four of Toronto FC's matches.
Toronto FC's performance was not without its negatives, there were a few worrying signs that continue to manifest themselves. The club's marking in the box once again let them down as they let Vancouver players slip away far too easily on both goals.
The worry going into the game was that Nick Hagglund, a depth centre back turned right back, would be picked apart by Kekuta Manneh. That only really happened once. Instead, it was Justin Morrow who had a rare weak link performance, as the left back was at least partially at fault on both Vancouver goals.
The goals, however, came on two of the very few mistakes that Toronto FC made at the back all match. In the first half especially they were organised well enough to suck the life out of the vast majority of Vancouver attacks.
Toronto FC, evidently, has a long way to go this season before it accomplishes anything truly outstanding. Winning this trophy again was important, but most would trade it in for a long run in this year's MLS playoffs: the club's ultimate goal.
However, the club now has something tangible to point as proof that they are making progress. That in itself is important for a team that will still have to deal with many bumps in the road this season.