Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Canada: Toronto make it three on the spin

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on July 3, 2011
Toronto FC

Toronto FC won their third consecutive Canadian title on Saturday

Toronto FC secured their third consecutive Nutrilite Canadian Championship title on Saturday. With the first leg tied at 1-1, the champions had to come from behind in their second leg 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps in order to win the Voyageur’s Cup yet again.

The second leg was initially scheduled on May 25th but the game was abandoned due to treacherous weather conditions. With these two teams having met in a Major League Soccer fixture just three days earlier (Toronto emerged victorious with a slender 1-0 win) this game took on more importance as the national title and a place in the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League were at stake. The visiting Whitecaps team took the lead after 21 minutes thanks to a Camilo Sanvezzo free-kick and that goal was all that separated the two teams at the half-time break.

Toronto came back early in the second half with Joao Plata restoring parity from the penalty spot after he’d been tripped in the box. Plata needed two attempts to level the scores after his first effort was saved by Vancouver keeper Joe Cannon who had come off his line too early, thus requiring a re-take. The crucial winning goal of the game came in the 61st minute when Mikael Yourassowsky was set up by Plata to score his first goal for the club during a spell in which Toronto looked the more likely of the two teams to score.

Toronto’s reward for winning their third Nutrilite Canadian Championship title is another tilt at the CONCACAF Champions League in which they will feature in the preliminary round stage against Real Estelí of Nicaragua.

Canada: Toronto favourites to win Voyageurs Cup title

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on April 26, 2011
Voyageurs Cup

Toronto FC currently hold the Voyageurs Cup

The Nutrilite Canadian Championship kicks off on Wednesday with defending champions Toronto FC favourites to hold on to their title. The format of the tournament has changed from a round-robin involving three teams to a straight knockout format involving four thanks to the inclusion of FC Edmonton alongside traditional entrants Toronto, Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact.

Major League Soccer (MLS) club Toronto FC, currently led by former Dutch international Aron Winter, are the defending Canadian champions having won back-to-back Voyageurs Cups in 2009 and 2010. They will face tournament new boys FC Edmonton in the semi-final and will be overwhelming favourites to reach the final given their considerable experience. FC Edmonton, who were formed only last year, have started life in America’s second-tier football competition, the North American Soccer League (NASL), rather well in 2011 having won two of their first three games and will have no pressure going into their maiden domestic championship campaign.

In the other semi-final Montreal Impact, inaugural winners of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship in 2008, are another NASL team facing off against a more-fancied MLS outfit, namely Vancouver Whitecaps. However this will not be the case beyond this year as Montreal have been given clearance to become the newest member of MLS in 2012. Nonetheless this tie will still interest many due to the current standards of both set-ups. Montreal are winless after three games in the 2011 NASL season whilst Vancouver may only have won just one match out of their first seven in their maiden MLS campaign but that came against fellow Canadians Toronto FC.

Should the two MLS sides qualify for the final, as many pundits expect, then it would be fascinating to see whether Vancouver would hold the Indian sign over Toronto. Would Toronto’s 2011 MLS season opening match blip at the hands of their compatriots be the prime motivation for a spot of revenge? Or can any of the NASL teams upset the big boys and reach the final?

2011 NUTRILITE CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINALS (seedings in brackets)

27/04/11 Montreal Impact (3) v Vancouver Whitecaps (2)

27/04/11 FC Edmonton (4) v Toronto FC (1)

04/05/11 Vancouver Whitecaps v Montreal Impact

04/05/11 Toronto FC v FC Edmonton

2011 NUTRILITE CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL (Highest seed away in first leg)

18/05/11 – First Leg

25/05/11 – Second Leg

Canada: Toronto FC wins back-to-back titles

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on June 3, 2010
Toronto FC

Toronto FC are Canadian club champions for a second straight season

Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit Toronto FC are the Nutrilite Canadian Championship winners for a second consecutive season and will represent Canada in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League. Toronto FC had already secured top spot before their final game of the campaign against Vancouver Whitecaps yesterday and, thus, decided to play a number of youth players from the club’s academy.

Currently lying in 2nd place in the MLS Eastern Conference the season has started well for the Canadian champions, who won the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship by virtue of a better goal difference of one over nearest challengers Vancouver. The 2010 campaign started at home to Montreal Impact in front of a 21,000 crowd and the home fans weren’t to be disappointed as the Reds started their title defence off in fine style with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Ty Harden and Chad Barrett. Toronto FC were firmly in the driving seat from the start and this was cemented after Vancouver and Montreal drew the second match of the tournament 1-1. Game number three of the championship saw a potentially tricky tie for Toronto as they hit the road to Montreal and the game looked to be heading for a goalless draw before Dwayne De Rosario, the highest scorer in the competition’s short history with four goals, scored the only goal of the game to give the Reds a crucial 1-0 victory in front of 10,000 at the Stade Saputo. Watch the goal HERE:

Toronto FC could’ve sealed the title by game number four but a goalless draw at home to Vancouver Whitecaps meant that the champagne had to be put on ice for at least seven days. The tournament’s fifth game saw Toronto’s rivals face off against each other in Montreal and it was the Vancouver who struck first in the 50th minute with Ansu Toure giving the Whitecaps hope of resurrecting the club’s title challenge. However the lead was to prove short-lived as Montreal equalized twelve minutes later with parity restored thanks to Phillipe Billy and that was the way the game finished, meaning that Toronto had won their second Voyageurs Cup in a row without kicking a ball. The final game was played as a mere formality and the meaningless nature of it was confirmed with the home team fielding a side containing a mixture of first team and youth academy players but the game still finished goalless meaning that a competitive edge had been brought about to the game especially when Vancouver’s Haber was sent off in the first half.

Toronto FC won their second title with eight points from four games, four more than Vancouver – who drew every one of their matches – and six points ahead of Montreal.

Canada: Club Championship prepares for big kick-off

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on April 27, 2010
Voyageurs Cup

The Voyageurs Cup is awarded to the winners of the Canadian Championship

Canada is preparing itself for the third edition of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship which takes place from April 28th with the first game between Toronto FC and Montreal Impact and finishes on June 2nd with Toronto’s final match of the tournament at home to the Vancouver Whitecaps. Toronto FC, who won the event last season on goal difference from Vancouver, are favourites to win their second title but there’s a chance that they could play weakened teams in the event which runs along the Major League Soccer (MLS) season. Neither Vancouver nor Montreal are MLS teams yet although the former have been officially announced as an expansion city for 2011 with the latter hoping to join them not long after. Nonetheless the tournament will prove to be very competitive as it has been in the previous two years of the event.

The inaugural championship kicked off on the 27th May, 2008 with Toronto FC defeating their hosts from Montreal 1-0 thanks to a lone strike from Puerto Rican defender Marco Vélez. That, however, was to be Montreal’s only defeat in the tournament as they defeated Vancouver home and away before securing a point away at Toronto who surprisingly lost points at Vancouver to gift the Impact the first ever Canadian Championship tournament by two points. The second tournament in 2009 was a two-horse race between Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps. Toronto FC defeated Vancouver 1-0 on the opening day of the tournament but Vancouver would get their own back on Matchday 5 with a 2-0 home victory. Thismeant that both teams matches against the Impact would gain significance especially as both teams won all their matches against Montreal. On Matchday 6, the final match of the event, Toronto FC heavily defeated the Impact at their home stadium 6-1 to shade the title on goal difference from Vancouver and take the Voyageurs Cup.

In each case the winners of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship went on to receive a berth in the qualifying rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League and this season is no different, therefore underlying how important this competition is to those concerned. Naturally Toronto FC are the favourites to win it again due to their greater experience but one cannot rule out the others completely in such a short tournament.

NUTRILITE CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP

April 28th: Toronto FC v Montreal Impact

May 5th: Vancouver Whitecaps v Montreal Impact

May 12th: Montreal Impact v Toronto FC

May 19th: Vancouver Whitecaps v Toronto FC

May 26th: Montreal Impact v Vancouver Whitecaps

June 2nd: Toronto FC v Vancouver Whitecaps