Toronto FC Soak It All In As They Claim Voyageurs Cup

TFC pose for team photo with
the Voyageurs Cup
With the Nutrilite Canadian Championship (NCC) already locked up and torrential rain falling down on BMO Field, Toronto FC rested several regulars and inserted 6 Academy players into the lineup as they played the Vancouver Whitecaps to a 0-0 draw.
Perhaps because the match meant very little or maybe it was the weather, but the crowd at BMO Field was sparse in comparison to most of TFC’s home games. The rain-soaked fans in attendance were not treated to a spectacular game but were rewarded at the end as TFC players hoisted the Voyageurs cup and paraded around the field to salute their fans. It was the team’s 2nd consecutive NCC title but this year they were able to celebrate at home in front of their fans.
“Everyone was anticipating that last whistle, it came and we were able to celebrate with the fans, it’s a great feeling,” said TFC captain and leading scorer. “Those fans have been coming out to Vancouver, coming out to Montreal to support us and it’s nice to hoist the cup for the first time on the home soil and it’s well deserved.”
De Rosario was also presented with the George Gross Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s most valuable player for the 2nd consecutive year. However, De Rosario was quick to credit those around him for being named the MVP.
“It’s a great feeling, but the MVP is not won with one man. It’s won with the total team and staff and my hats off to them. I’m very grateful for having the opportunity to win it again but it’s a tribute to the players in that locker room they’re the ones that make me the MVP.”
Toronto (2-2-0) finished the tournament with 8 points while Vancouver (0-4-0) finished a distant second with 4 points and drew every game. Montreal (0-2-2) finished last with two points.
As the winner of the NCC, TFC have qualified to participate in the 2010-2011 CONCACAF Champions League and will face the Honduran club team Motagua in the preliminary phase this July.

Well Deserved Rest
With little on the line, Coach Preki left many Toronto starters out of the lineup to give them a well deserved rest and even took the day night off as well. Preki handed the coaching duties for the game to assistant coach Leo Percovich. This allowed Preki to watch the game from a different perspective and evaluate his secondary players who were given a great opportunity to see valuable game action.
Dwayne De Rosario accepts the George
Gross Memorial Trophy as the
tournament’s MVP
Two of TFC’s Academy players featured in the starting lineup – defender Doneil Henry who hails from Mississauga and Scarborough’s Allando Matheson at the forward position. Brampton’s Nicholas Lindsay replaced Julian de Guzman up front to start the second half.
Percovich had high praise for his team, especially the three academy players who saw significant playing time in their first professional game.
“This shows how strong this group is, how much the staff and head coach trust every player, even players from the academy,” said Percovich. “Tonight we played players 17, 18 years old, first time they go for the professional game and they did good, especially for this effort. We have to say thank you to all the players because it was a rainy night, very heavy field but everybody was fighting for every ball.

Very Little Action
For the most part the 1st half was very uneventful as the Whitecaps generated the only great scoring chance when midfielder Phillipe Davies curved a shot on goal late in the half. TFC’s third goalkeeper Milos Kocic, who was given the start in goal, made a great leaping save to keep the score at 0-0 in added time.
Percovich was forced to make a very early substitution when defender Joseph Nane injured himself as he slipped on the wet pitch and fell to the ground. Nane was in obvious pain as he emphatically banged his cleats on the turf. He seemed to put his right arm down to brace his fall and left the game with a dislocated right shoulder
The game changed in TFC’s favour in the 31st minute when Whitecaps forward Marcus Haber was given a straight red for a late tackle on Doneil Henry with his cleats up. Vancouver pleaded with the referee but to no avail and suddenly found themselves down to 10 men.
The 2nd half was equally uneventful as neither team pushed each other very hard. TFC didn’t seem to display much chemistry until De Rosario entered the game in the mid-way through the half.
Again, the best chance in the half was created by the visitors as a Whitecaps corner kick into a throng of players resulted in a header off the crossbar by midfielder Jonny Steele in the 66th minute.
Other than a direct shot on goal in the 1st half and a weak header late in the 2nd half by forward Faud Ibrahim, TFC failed to generate any significant scoring changes to challenge Vancouver goalkeeper Jay Nolly.
TFC will now return to league play as they host the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday afternoon in their last game before the 3-week World Cup break.

Contact Aman Dhanoa 

Photos courtesy of Annandi Merhai of Devi Designs

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