MATCH DAY INFO
CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP, Semi-Finals, Leg 1
Ottawa Fury FC v Toronto FC
Kickoff: Wednesday, August 7, 2019 - 7:30 p.m. – TD Place
This upcoming Wednesday night, Ottawa takes on Toronto FC in the first leg of the semi-final in the Canadian Championship. The winner of the two-legged, home-and-away, aggregate score format qualifying round between Ottawa and Toronto FC will get to meet either Montreal Impact or Calvary FC in the two-legged final. The winner of the tournament will hoist the Voyageurs Cup after the second leg of the Final Round scheduled for 25 September and earn a berth to the 2020 Concacaf Champions League.
The teams met in the semifinals a year ago with Toronto FC winning 4-0 on aggregate. Toronto FC, who competes in the Major League Soccer (MLS), is currently in eighth position in the league with a record of 9W-5D-10L. Most of their victories have come at BMO Field. They are 6W-4D-3L on their home pitch, making Toronto FC an especially strong team in front of their crowd.
The tournament will also be a great opportunity for fans to celebrate the great amount of talented soccer players Canada has been producing over the years. Both rosters combine to 23 Canadian players for this thrilling contest ahead. Of the players available for this competition, Toronto FC has 8 Canadians: Ashtone Morgan, Jay Chapman, Ayo Akinola. Jonathan Osorio, Richie Laryea, Jacob Shaffelburg, Liam Fraser and Noble Okello.
Ottawa also boasts an impressive amount of Canadian players on its roster, 18 to be exact, 15 of which are available for selection: Callum Irving, Chris Mannella, Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé, Carl Haworth, David Monsalve, Maxim Tissot, Antoine Coupland, Jamar Dixon, Jadon Vilfort, Thomas Meilleur-Giguère, Protais Mutambala, Luca Ricci, Jason Beaulieu, Robert Boskovic, and Cameron Shaw.
SCOUTING TORONTO FC
Toronto FC will be looking to bring a positive result back to BMO Field. Toronto FC enters the competition coming off a 2-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls Saturday at Red Bull Arena. Jozy Altidore had a goal called back against his former team in a dominant first half for the Reds, who were unfortunate to go into halftime scoreless. An own goal by Chris Mavinga on a cross attempt by Kaku broke the stalemate in the 55th minute and Kemar Lawrence closed the game out in second-half stoppage time after Justin Morrow was sent off.
Toronto FC is currently 3W-6L-2D away from home in the MLS and will be looking to change that run of form when it visits TD Place stadium this Wednesday night.
Greg Vanney has used a variety of formations in attempts to find the right balance for his team at different points in the season. However, in the majority of the games for this season, Vanney seems to have favored the 4-2-3-1 formation which has given the Toronto FC more stability and contributed to more positive results for the visitors.
It wouldn’t be surprising then that Toronto FC jump on the pitch with a similar set up to their last match. The strength of this formation resides in passing. Passing the ball through triangles is more effective at breaking down opponents than passing in straight lines, which is where the 4-2-3-1 comes into its own. Not to mention, with so many players ready and available to pass the ball forwards, the striker in this formation is typically provided plenty of chances to score, so the Ottawa defenders will have to be switched at all times if playing against this formation.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Head Coach Nikola Popovic
“I think we are playing against a very difficult team. It is a team that has cost a lot of money and that has a lot of ambitions in MLS as well as in the Canadian [Championship]. We expect to play against a difficult team and to have a difficult match over the two legs. However, what we did this year gives us a better chance at having a good game than the one we had last year. I think it is going to be a very important first game, because we know that they are very strong on their field, so the first game is going to be crucial for us.”
“We are not going to change anything about our way of playing and philosophy. We want to see a team that wants the ball, that plays attractive football, and that creates chances, that is always aggressive, and that gives its 100% in every single challenge.”
Defender Carl Haworth
“Definitely, as soon as the draw came out and we saw the potential match up with TFC again, so that was certainly circled in our calendars and it’s a big goal for us to get to that point. Not only that, we have to go and give a good showing, and show that we can compete with the likes of TFC. Hopefully we get a good result.”
“I mean it’s a tale of two legs really. Any team that comes here is going to have a tough game. We are very strong at home and our fans lift us a little bit more. We are comfortable playing here, so to get results at home against any team is not a surprise. It’s about performing over the two legs and keeping the tie close, and defending a lead hopefully or a favourable draw going into the second leg.”
“We are not worried about who they bring; they are an MLS squad. Any guy on the lower end of their roster makes more than any guy here. It’s a strong roster throughout and the standard shouldn’t drop necessarily because they are playing any subs; we certainly don’t think ours do. We are prepared for whoever they bring and we are going to prepare for how they play.”