Canadian Championship: Ottawa Fury takes 2-1 lead with historic home win against Toronto FC
Posted on 31 May 2017 in Canadian Championship
Ottawa Fury FC hold an impressive 2-1 lead in their Canadian Championship semi-final series after a historic home win over five-time champions Toronto FC. Ryan Williams and Sito were Ottawa's second-half goalscorers to the delight of the home crowd at TD Place.
Ottawa Fury FC have now won three successive home matches in the Canadian Championship, with a win last year against Vancouver Whitecaps FC and two wins this year against FC Edmonton and Toronto FC. Ottawa Fury FC will need to maintain or improve on their 2-1 series lead next week when they face Toronto FC in the return leg at BMO Field in Toronto.
Toronto FC scored first in their away leg, with last year's MVP Benoît Cheyrou playing the give and go between passes from Raheem Edwards and Jordan Hamilton. From the final pass, Cheyrou was in alone to give Toronto FC the 1-0 lead in the 35th minute.
In the second half, Williams equalised on the penalty in the 57th minute. Ahead of that moment, an Ottawa corner kick was headed off the post by Ramon Del Campo. Ottawa kept the ball in play and had a couple of chances on goal until Sito's kick was handled by a Toronto player.
In the 72nd minute, a Tucker Hume interception created the opportunity for Ottawa's second goal. Sito was quick to the ball and fired it past the Toronto FC goalkeeper.
As the only all-Canada competition that leads to the international stage, including the CONCACAF Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup, the Canadian Championship is viewed as a prestigious event unparalleled in Canada.
New Canadian Content rules introduced by Canada Soccer in 2017 include the requirement that a minimum of three Canadians are in the starting lineup for all Canadian Championship matches which will result in more Canadian players taking the pitch than in any previous editions of the competition’s 10-year history.
In all, 13 Canadians dressed for the match. Home side Ottawa Fury FC started Callum Irving, Eddie Edward and Jamar Dixon, while Andrew MacRae, Thomas Meilleur-Giguère, and Aron Mkungilwa dressed but did not feature. Toronto FC, meanwhile, started Jay Chapman, Raheem Edwards, Jordan Hamilton, and Jonathan Osorio. Both Ashtone Morgan and Tosaint Ricketts dressed as substitutes while Sergio Camargo dressed but did not feature.
The Battle of the North
“We’re calling this competition The Battle of the North because it really is the pinnacle of Canadian club soccer, and the only competition that gives Canadian professional clubs an opportunity to advance to the international stage,” said Peter Montopoli, General Secretary for Canada Soccer. “Canadian clubs have come close to securing a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup in the past, including the Montréal Impact in 2015. We are confident we’ll see some world-class soccer in each of these upcoming Canadian Championship matches.”
The Path to the FIFA Club World Cup
The path to the FIFA Club World Cup started with the Qualifying Round, with Ottawa Fury FC now joining Canada’s three MLS teams for home and away Semi-final series. The home and away Final round will culminate with the final match on 27 June where the winner will be crowned 2017 Canadian Champion and raise the Voyageurs Cup. A special one-match Battle of the North playoff between the 2016 Canadian Championships winners Toronto FC and the 2017 winners will be played on 9 August in Toronto to determine who will advance, unless Toronto FC repeats as Canadian winners.
The winners of the Battle of the North will have earned its spot to compete in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, the region’s most prestigious club tournament, that qualifies its champion directly to the FIFA Club World Cup.
One of the most distinguished club level trophies in soccer, the FIFA Club World Cup pits the winners of CONCACAF Champions League against the winners of the five other continental championships: Asia's AFC Champions League, Africa's CAF Champions League, South America's Copa Libertadores, Oceania's OFC Champions League, and Europe's UEFA Champions League. The competition also features the host nation's national champions.