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FT: Toronto FC 1-2 Chivas — Missed chances haunt TFC

The Reds find themselves in a hole ahead of the second leg.

Chivas v Toronto FC: CONCACAF Champions League 2018 - Final - Leg 1 Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

That really did not go Toronto FC’s way. After surrendering the first away goal in the 2nd minute of the match, TFC struggled to take hold of the match like they have in the past. Jonathan Osorio put them back in it in 19th minute, but Guadalajara managed to capitalize on their chances and they’ll be going home with a lead.

TFC have a lot of work to do now, as even a 1-0 win in next week’s second leg would give the tie to Chivas. They’ll need to come out firing if they want any chance of winning this tournament.

It wasn’t necessarily a poor match from TFC overall, but sloppy giveaways, missed assignments, and bad finishing killed them. Jozy Altidore and Drew Moor, especially, had pretty golden chances that they probably should’ve finished.

Toronto fans will be screaming about missed calls, with Seba brought down in the box pretty harshly, and the foul leading to Alan Pulido’s goal a pretty sketchy one. Still, the Reds will be kicking themselves after failing to score more than once.

This one hurts, but it ain’t over. That’s definitely what any TFC player would tell you. We’ll see them back in action next week.

94’ — No added time for the injured Chivas player being stretchered off, apparently. That’ll do it.

93’ — Chivas are in peak time-wasting mode. TFC continue to buzz around the box, but don’t have enough time between plays to really harness momentum.

81’ — Ager Aketxe is indeed TFC’s last sub. He comes in for Marky Delgado, as TFC will desperately look for a goal.

75’ — BMO Field is livid as Sebastian Giovinco is brought down in the box, but the ref waves play on. It could easily have been called a penalty, but we continue.

72’ Toronto FC 1-2 Chivas — That’s the last thing TFC needed. Chivas get a free kick a few metres outside the corner of the box, and Alan Pulido sends the set piece all the way over everyone’s heads and into the back corner of the net. Two away goals for Chivas, that’s far from ideal for the Reds.

67’ — Like-for-like swap for TFC on the left side. Justin Morrow makes his return to the lineup, replacing Ashtone Morgan. One sub left for Greg Vanney; Ager Aketxe, maybe?

60’ — Again, TFC come incredibly close. This time it’s Drew Moor, of all people, who gets played through for his third shot of the game. No dice yet again, though. Lots of positive buildup, but Chivas have had a couple looks recently as well.

47’ — So close from Delgado! Sebastian Giovinco sends a sneaky pass right across the top of the box, teeing it up for Delgado with just the keeper to beat, but the shot sails over the bar.

46’ — Chris Mavinga is done for the night, most likely because he’s still not quite healthy — he didn’t look it, at least. Eriq Zavaleta comes in to replace him.

45’ — No recent goals, but TFC have definitely looked dangerous in the buildup on more than one occasion. Jozy Altidore has recovered from whatever illness he was dealing with earlier, and he, Giovinco, and Osorio have made plenty of enticing moves in the box. No luck yet, though. Halftime.

20’ Toronto FC 1-1 Chivas — We’re back, baby! Jozy Altidore plays a perfectly weighted through ball to Marky Delgado, who slices it across goal to JONATHAN FREAKIN’ OSORIO. The Canadian content continues to provide heroics for TFC in this competition.

2’ Toronto FC 0-1 Chivas — Welp. Chivas have drawn first blood; Rodolfo Pizarro finishes a pass that really should not have gotten all the way through to him. At least two TFC defenders maybe should’ve cut that out.

1’ — No anthems, so we’re off! Toronto FC kick off, headed for the south end. Must’ve lost the coin toss...

Mitchell Tierney/ Waking the Red

I’ve already shed more than enough pixels on this site in calling a game “the biggest in Toronto FC’s history.” It’s never once been a lie, though; pretty much every consecutive CONCACAF Champions League game (maybe sans the Colorado Rapids series) has been absolutely enormous.

Let’s say it again, then. Tonight, TFC play C.D. Guadalajara, or Chivas, in the Biggest Game in Club History™. The CCL, and a berth in the god damn FIFA Club World Cup, is on the line.

By the way, I went through a brief phase of acquiescing to CONCACAF’s demands and styling them “Concacaf.” I’m over that; it’s an acronym. I’m writing as one.

Anyway, the game. Technically, TFC are in losing form — some team wearing their jerseys lost 2-0 in Colorado on Saturday. Thankfully, almost all of the players who’ll be playing tonight didn’t even travel to Commerce City. Of the contingent that traveled over the weekend, only Michael Bradley is pretty much guaranteed to start; Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta, and Ashtone Morgan could also get into the starting eleven though.

This may not be the riveting, back-and-forth attacking action as we’ve seen in TFC’s past encounters with Mexican teams. Chivas have shown repeatedly over this competition that they’re a stingy defensive team that’ll be very difficult to break down. They got past the New York Red Bulls in the semi-final by weathering 20 shots, and taking just one of their own.

Remind you of anything?

Yeah, this final could absolutely have shades of 2016, especially if Victor Vazquez isn’t fit. On the road, in horrible conditions and on a crappy pitch, I’d expect Guadalajara to sit back a lot. Honestly, if Vazquez can’t play, I’d even consider playing someone like Ager Aketxe, not only for his ability to slice passes through defences, but also because his eagerness to shoot from far out will keep Chivas from posting up completely in the box.

Prepare to be frustrated. Thankfully, TFC have two games to try and solve this defence. Unfortunately, though, Chivas get the home leg back in Guadalajara, where they can put up a brick wall in their box and hit the Reds on the counter.

Just like TFC, Chivas rested a lot of their regulars over the weekend in a 3-0 loss to Club Tijuana. They started just one regular, left back Edwin Hernandez, who’s suspended for this game anyway. They fielded four players with kit numbers above 200.

Chivas are spurred along by some plucky Mexican talent. They’ll have a strong centre-back pairing of Carlos Salcido (with 124 caps for El Tri) and Oswaldo Alanis, and Rodolfo Pizarro is likely to be their greatest goalscoring threat.

Weather in Toronto looks to be about 2 degrees Celsius at kickoff, with some scattered rain and snow. Fun, eh?

Here we go.

Team news: injuries & suspensions

Toronto FC: Nick Hagglund is the only one confirmed out, but I’d say it’s unlikely we see either Victor Vazquez or Chris Mavinga, either. Justin Morrow could possibly return tonight, though.

TFC have, I believe, five players on a yellow card, in danger of missing the second leg: Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Jonathan Osorio, and Drew Moor.

C.D. Guadalajara: Defenders Jesus Sanchez and Hedgardo Marin look to be out, as well as midfielder Alan Cervantes.

Chivas have a lot of suspensions, too. Jair Pereira is still out with the multi-game ban he picked up for strangling a NYRB player. Rodolfo Cota and Edwin Hernandez are suspended with yellow card accumulation as well.

Pre-game reading:

Chivas Guadalajara: Who are they, anyway? (Charlie O’Connor-Clarke)

Alex Bono continues to come up big when Toronto FC need him most (Mitchell Tierney)

Finally Awake: Many-faced Reds find themselves favoured to win CCL (Charlie O’Connor-Clarke)

Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against Chivas (Leg 1) (Benedict Rhodes)

How to watch

Match date/time: 8:30 p.m. EST, Tuesday, April 17
TV: TSN 2 (Canada), Univision Deportes (USA), Fox Sports Cono Norte (Mexico)
Live stream: TSN Go (Canada), go90 (USA)
Radio: TSN 1150 (Hamilton)


Toronto FC:

(Bench: Irwin, Morrow, Aketxe, Zavaleta, Hamilton, Hasler, Ricketts)

Chivas: Jimenez, Alanis, Salcido, Pineda, Pulido, Brizuela, Pizarro, C. Cisneros, Perez, Mayorga, Godinez

(Bench: Rodriguez, Lopez, Sandoval, Zaldivar, Macias, Beltran, Basulto)