Canada Soccer

Toronto FC wins Nutrilite Canadian Championship

Posted on 18 June 2009 in Canadian Championship

Unbelievable, but true: up against improbable odds to stave off elimination, Toronto FC pulled off the greatest victory in franchise history to win the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship. In need of a victory by four or more goals to skip past leaders Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Toronto team drummed up an away 6:1 win over the Impact de Montréal on the final night of the competition.

Dwayne De Rosario scored the first hat trick in competition history while Amado Guevara score two goals and Chad Barrett scored the competition winner. De Rosario earned Toronto's Man of the Match honours and also picked up the championship's most valuable player prize - the George Gross Memorial Trophy.

Toronto FC wins the 2009 Voyageurs Cup - the team's first trophy - and qualifies for the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League season. Toronto FC will open its confederation play in late July against the Puerto Rico Islanders.

On this historic night at Stade Saputo in Montréal, a championship was perhaps a far-fetched dream for Toronto fans, especially after the Impact scored the opening goal in the 24th minute. Toronto's Nick Garcia pulled down Pierre-Rudolph Mayard from a rain-soaked pitch inside the box. Tony Donatelli stepped up to the penalty spot and fired his free shot past Stefan Frei for the Impact's first goal of the tournament.

Now in need of five goals, Toronto FC kept its head up high and re-dedicated itself to the attack. Within five minutes, Toronto FC was up on the board with its first goal of the game. De Rosario connected on a bicycle kick from within the Montréal box to equalise the score at 1-1.

It was one of three Toronto FC bicycle kicks fired on net in the first half, albeit the only one to beat Impact goalkeeper Srdjan Djekanovic. Danny Dichio was stopped earlier while Pablo Vitti was stopped nine minutes after the first De Rosario goal.

In the 39th minute, De Rosario marked his second goal by firing a direct shot off a defender and into the net. Toronto's 2-1 lead cut the championship magic number down to three.

Just four minutes into the second half, De Rosario completed the hat trick to give Toronto FC a 3-1 lead and a two-goal mission to win the championship. Twenty minutes later, the Reds finally drew within a goal after Guevara curved a free kick into the top left corner for a 4-1 lead. Guevara's goal came just moments after Barrett missed a glorious chance up close on Djekanovic.

After the Guevara goal, the Impact made two more substitutions in an effort to hold off the charging Toronto attack. With less than 10 minutes to go in the match, though, Barrett put the ball over the line to give Toronto its improbable four-goal advantage and a driver's seat in the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship standings.

With an insurance goal in added time by Guevara, Toronto FC finished the competition with nine points, a +5 goal differential and eight goals scored. Toronto FC finished first ahead of Vancouver Whitecaps FC who finished with nine points, a +4 goal differential and five goals scored.

By winning the championship, Toronto FC advances to the second season of the CONCACAF Champions League. Toronto FC will face Puerto Rico Islanders in the preliminary stage of the competition. The home-and-away series will be played in late July and early August.

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