TORONTO, Canada—Toronto FC have returned home to their familiar grounds, and have kicked off a nine-match Canadian Series with a resounding 3-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Reds will play the Whitecaps and Montreal Impact three times each, as well as the Caps and Impact playing three directly. The results of these nine matches will count directly toward the MLS regular season standings, but will also have a second (and perhaps more immediate) result for the three clubs involved.
The club that amasses the greatest amount of points over their six matches will automatically represent the MLS in a one-match, winner-take-all Voyageurs Cup Final vs. the Canadian Premier League’s ‘Island Games’ champion.
TFC have fared well in these “double-dip” matches. The first three matches of the MLS is Back tournament counted as MLS regular season matches as well as tournament matches, and the Reds went unbeaten in the group stage.
In fact, when Vancouver and Toronto kick off Friday for the rematch, TFC will have reached 384 days without a regular season defeat.
Between Voyageurs Cup, CONCACAF Champions League and the old MLS two-legged playoff system, facing a club in back-to-back matches isn’t an uncommon occurrence. But this week marks just the third time in TFC history that it has happened at the same stadium, and the first time that it has happened within the same competition.
This week will mark the 3rd time in @TorontoFC history they've played the same team on the same ground consecutively...— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) August 18, 2020
1) From an abandoned rain-soaked VCup match in '11
2) From TFC's first playoffs in '15@vocalminorityCA @WakingtheRed @24thminute @joshuakloke #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/u7jtseWIZd
Toronto got the third phase of their MLS season underway on the right foot, thanks to some outside-the-box work from DP Pablo Piatti.
It was the sort of brilliance we saw hints of in Orlando, and something that Reds’ fans will be eager to have on repeat as the summer becomes autumn.
Piatti then put the period on the end of a frenetic sentence at the North end, doubling the club’s lead and giving himself a pair of TFC goals.
Amazingly it was the 11th time in club history that a Toronto FC player has scored his first and second goals for the club in the same match.
Amazingly, Pablo Piatti has become the 11th @TorontoFC player to open his #TFCLive account with a brace (three on their debut)@WakingtheRed @vocalminorityCA @24thminute @joshuakloke @LukeWileman pic.twitter.com/Zv5GUaHhuj— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) August 19, 2020
Familiarity may be the name of the game on Friday as the club’s square off again.
Leading into Tuesday’s match, the Canadian rivals may have shared the same side of a closed border, but not much else. Amazingly, 11 of the 16 Whitecaps saw their first minutes against Toronto FC in competition, including CANMNT mainstay Lucas Cavallini and ex-Red star Tosaint Ricketts.
Heading into Tuesday's affair... pic.twitter.com/I2DYfSKZqc— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) August 20, 2020
And finally, with the win on Tuesday night, Toronto FC extended their league undefeated streak to 16 regular season games, equaling the fifth-longest streak without a defeat in MLS history. The all-time record is held by the Columbus Crew (2004-2005).
The Reds will aim for No. 17 when they take the pitch at BMO Field once again on Friday night.