Head coach Bob Bradley named an unchanged Toronto FC XI after their 2-0 defeat against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. Deandre Kerr was a late scratch though, and he was replaced by Ralph Priso.
A late change to our line up— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) June 22, 2022
Deandre Kerr OUT
Ralph Priso IN https://t.co/rzImsSIb4D
Jayden Nelson had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring just two minutes after kickoff. He got on the end of a lazy back-pass from the Montreal midfield, and beat Gabriele Corbo to the ball. He then took a low shot from outside the box, which beat goalkeeper James Pantemis, but grazed the outside of the far post and drifted behind for a goal kick.
Both team saw a fair amount of possession in the opening 10 minutes, yet neither side was able to make the most of it.
In the 14th minute, Ayo Akinola’s cross towards the centre of the goal failed to find his strike partner, Jesus Jiménez. The build-up play was admirable, with Priso and Akinola connecting well.
Some shaky moments for Toronto’s defence occurred halfway through the first 45 minutes, with Shane O’Neill finding himself in the middle of both plays. First came a failed clearance by one of his teammates that deflected off of him, but he then got in the way to block a Montreal shot.
TFC fans held their breath in the 35th minute when O’Neill was inches away from scoring an own goal. Mathieu Choinière sent a low cross towards the six-yard box, which was deflected by the Irish-born centre back. Thankfully, the ball went just wide of Quentin Westberg’s net.
The Reds made it 1-0 in the 39th minute with a goal from Akinola. The play began with passes from Kosi Thompson, Michael Bradley and Nelson. Nelson then pushed the ball forward to Jiménez, who took a few touches before sending it to Luca Petrasso, who made a lung-busting run down the left flank. Petrasso’s first touch was the cross that found Akinola as he finished the play off perfectly.
GOAL— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) June 22, 2022
AYO AKINOLA gives #TFClive a 1-0 advantage just before half-time, as #CFMTL get caught out before the #CanMNT striker taps home coolly in front of the net #CanChamp | https://t.co/7JFAUhgjL6 pic.twitter.com/6kecBKqSsG
Akinola could have had a second goal late in the first half, but Pantemis calmly parried the shot.
Toronto’s No. 20 would get his brace in the 53rd minute of the game. Alejandro Pozuelo and Jiménez exchanged passes before the Spanish midfielder sent a through ball to Akinola. Montreal defender Rudy Camacho slid in to intercept the pass, but Akinola got on the end of the ball and unleashed a strike off the underside of the crossbar and in.
A couple of quick chances for the away side came in the 59th minute. Kei Kamara’s shot was saved by Westberg, and the follow-up from Ahmed Hamdi was blocked by Thompson.
Jonathan Osorio received a warm reception from the Toronto faithful in the 62nd minute as he returned to action for the first time since May 28th following a brief spell on the sidelines.
Chris Mavinga also returned to play since recovering from a hamstring injury, as he came into the match in the 73rd minute for Akinola.
Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty was subbed in to the match as well, playing his first minutes at BMO Field since he sustained an injury to his right knee three months ago. He underwent surgery to repair the damage, and is hoping to get more minutes throughout the second half of the season.
Just two minutes later, the Reds added a third goal. A Petrasso corner was partially punched away by Pantemis, and Jiménez took advantage of the opportunity and scored his first goal since April 30th.
GOAL #TFClive are up 3-0 over #CFMTL in this #CanChamp semi-final, as Jesus Jimenez taps in off a corner kick to all but assure a spot in the final #CanChamp | https://t.co/7JFAUhgjL6 pic.twitter.com/tOmSS3OYYX— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) June 23, 2022
Toronto then scored again in the 78th minute to make it 4-0. The play started with Osorio and Pozuelo sending passes to one another. Osorio then dribbled the ball into the opposing box and found an unmarked Nelson. Nelson helped the ball on to Pozuelo as it was put in thanks to a slight deflection from defender Róbert Thorkelsson.
Ultimately, this win is very important for TFC, seeing as this game was the start of a five-game home stand for the Reds. Some confidence can be gained from this match as well, because this was Toronto’s first clean sheet in 28 matches.
TFC’s next match is on Saturday, June 25th against Atlanta United at BMO Field. Kick-off is set for 7:30 pm EST.