If Toronto FC falls short of making the Voyageurs Cup final, it will be as a result of 5 minutes at BMO Field. Last Wednesday, Toronto were completely dominating the Montreal Impact, and at 4-0 up were prepared to go into the second leg in Montreal with a massive lead.
Instead, out of nowhere, Montreal Impact star Didier Drogba cut Toronto FC's lead in half. He set up youngster Michael Salazar before scoring a brilliant free-kick himself. As a result of those away goals, Toronto FC essentially only has a one goal lead going into tonight's match.
That means tonight's match will be a tense affair for Toronto FC, against a Montreal Impact team who has eliminated Toronto from the last three Canadian Championship competitions. This included in 2014 when Toronto had a 2-0 lead going into Montreal on aggregate before being stomped 6-0.
It's incredibly unlikely that a scenario that dire repeats itself, but Toronto FC certainly have to be cautious going into Montreal today. But not too cautious, there is no reason to let the Impact dictate tempo and allow them to try and break the defence down all game.
Toronto FC has beaten the Impact twice this season in all competitions, including an emphatic 2-0 victory in Montreal earlier in the season. If Toronto can repeat that performance, in which they went out and matched Montreal instead of sitting back, they will comfortably cruise to the Voyageurs Cup final.
Luckily, Toronto FC will be getting some of the important players from that victory back just in time for the second leg. What roles Will Johnson and Sebastian Giovinco will be able to play after returning from injury remains to be seen, but having those options is incredibly important, especially if things don't go to plan early.
At the back, it is expected that Drew Moor returns to the starting lineup after his wife gave birth to their first child the day before the first leg. Moor's return is incredibly important, as it was the veteran defender who shut down Drogba completely when the two met in MLS action earlier in the year.
Not that Nick Hagglund and Eriq Zavaleta necessarily did a bad job against Drogba last week. Only one of the goals could really be considered their fault, and even then it was an extraordinary ball from the veteran striker. One of Hagglund or Zavaleta may well start tonight as both Damien Perquis and Josh Williams continue to recover from injury.
Most interesting, perhaps, in this match will be how the Canadians who headlined the first leg will fair in the sequel. Jonathan Osorio hasn't been at his best this season, but the first leg was perhaps the best performance of his professional career. The same can be said of Jordan Hamilton, albeit with a much smaller sample size. Add in strong complimentary performances from Ashtone Morgan and Mo Babouli and Canada was well-represented.
If Vanney chooses to once again roll out a roster of youngsters, the aforementioned four will again be crucial to seeing Toronto FC to the final. Jordan Hamilton's performance will be especially interesting considering the club's lack of depth at the striker position.
Projected Starting 11