Toronto FC Takes First Leg in CONCACAF Champions League

Toronto FC defender Adrian Cann
battles with a Motagua player
for the loose ball
Toronto FC pulled off their first ever CONCACAF Champions League victory as they held a talented Club Deportivo Motagua off the scoresheet to take the first leg of qualifying 1-0 at BMO Field in Toronto.
Toronto put forth a great effort against the Honduran club which featured four players that represented Honduras in the World Cup, including former TFC midfielder Amado Gueverra.
TFC received reliable goalkeeping from Stefan Frei and solid defence from Nana Attakora and Adrian Cann. Meanwhile, Julian de Guzman and Dwayne De Rosario shined in the middle as they created numerous chances going forward but only Chad Barrett’s first half strike was able to crack the back of the net.

’s goal came in the 21st minute when De Rosario put a wonderful pass ahead to a charging Barrett who drilled the ball with his left foot past the Motagua keeper, Donaldo Morales, to put TFC up 1-0.

The Reds generated numerous chances to score a second goal but were simply lacking the finish. In the 63rd minute Jacob Peterson received a pass at the edge of the box but his shot went just over the Motagua goal. Then in the 73rd minute, De Rosario ran down a pass from Maicon Santos but his shot was stopped by a diving Morales.
TFC were fortunate to escape with a victory as Motagua nearly equalized late in the game when Javier Portillo mishandled a pass from Georgie Welcome in 84th minute. Welcome ran into the box, crossed the ball from left to right to an open Portillo who was wide open but mistimed his shot and the ball was quickly cleared away by Attakora. The play drew gasps from the 18,891 fans in attendance as it looked certain that Toronto was once again about to allow a late goal but the gasps quickly transformed into a collective sigh of relief.
Barrett, who watched from the bench in the second half offered his thoughts on the match.
Toronto FC celebrate
Chad Barrett’s goal
“I think we had the better of the chances throughout the game,” said Barrett. “And when it came down to closing out the game we did well to keep the zero but I thought we gave too many good chances, they had a good look. We got lucky that they didn’t capitalize.”
Coach Preki admitted his team was pushing for a second goal but could have played smarter in the latter stages of the match.
“Well we kept pushing forward, we were trying to get a second goal because we knew how important is the second goal,” said Preki. “The only thing is we have to be a little bit smarter when we do that because last five, six minutes we opened up gaps in the back, we almost paid for it. From that last standpoint we need to be a little bit cautious when we go forward and how we protect ourselves on the back.”
Gueverra, who played two seasons with the Reds and became a fan favourite, was excited about his return to Toronto.
"I am happy to be in Toronto again,” said Gueverra through a translator. “Thanks to Toronto FC, to all the team, to the fans, I sincerely appreciate the respect and love they showed me today. Congratulations to the team for the victory today. Now they have an advantage for the second game."

Heading to Tegucigalpa
Motagua’s Amado Gueverra
chases down former teammate
and TFC captain Dwayne De Rosario
With Tuesday’s win, Toronto is in a good position but will have their hands full next week when they travel to the hostile Estadio Nacional in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. TFC can advance to the group stage of Champions League with a win, tie or – and this is where it gets tricky – with a loss where they score at least one goal but also lose by a single goal. A loss of 1-0 would result in extra time and potentially penalty kicks to decide who advances. A loss by two or more goals would mean Toronto will be eliminated from the competition.
“Honduras is going to be tough,” added Barrett. “They’re going to be just as good if not better on their own field, they got the thick grass and they got their fans that hate us so it’s going to be tough.”
Toronto will play a league game in Kansas City this Saturday at 8:30pm before travelling to Honduras to play the second leg of the Champions League qualifier on Tuesday, August 3rd at 8pm.


Toronto FC:
Stefan Frei, Maksim Usanov (Dan Gargan 46‘), Adrian Cann, Nana Attakora, Nick Garcia, Dwayne De Rosario, Joseph Nane, Julian de Guzman, Chad Barrett (Maicon Santos 46’), O’Brian White (Mista 62’), Jacob Peterson
Subs not used: Jon Conway, Gabe Gala, Nick LaBrocca, Raivis Hscanovics

Club Deportivo Motagua:
Donaldo Morales, Emilio Izaguirre, Johnny Leveron, Sergio Mendoza, Ivan Guerreo, Guillero Diaz, Amado Guevara (Ronald Martinez 46’), Jorge Claros, Maurico Weber (Milton Reyes 75’), Charles Cordoba (Javier Portillo 46’), Georgie Welcome
Subs not used: Marion Licona, Shannon Welcome, Marcelo dos Santos, David Molina

Scoring Summary:
TOR: Chad Barrett (Dwayne De Rosario, O’Brian White) 20’

Misconduct Summary:
TOR: Maicon Santos (Reckless Tackle) 51’
MOT: Johnny Leveron (Reckless Tackle) 79’
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Assistants: George Gansner, Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Steven DePiero
Attendance: 18,891
Weather: Clear and 75 degrees
Time of Game: 1:51

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Photos courtesy of Annandi Merhai of Devi Designs

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