Three-peat: Altidore lifts TFC to third straight Canadian Championship

Another big game and another big night for Jozy Altidore who helped Toronto FC defeat the Vancouver Whitecaps 7-4 on aggregate for the Canadian Championship Wednesday night.

Vying for their third straight Canadian Championship and second time beating the Whitecaps for the crown in three years, TFC started slow but turned on the jets midway through the first half.

In the first 25 minutes of the match Vancouver was pushing, trying to make something happen. TFC on the other hand sat back, making sure they were goal side of their man taking away any chance the Whitecaps tried to produce, but both sides had some chances and for the most part it was even.

“We had to settle in a little bit,” said TFC Head Coach Greg Vanney. “You feel out the game the first 15-20 minutes to kind of get what the rhythm is going to be like,”

Jay Chapman had himself a great first half for TFC. His movement up and down the wing created chances offensively while helping out on the back end, especially helping the defenders with the young and speedy Canadian forward Alphonso Davies.

Vancouver had two real chances in the first half. The first being in the sixth minute when Marcel de Jong swung one in but Yordy Reyna’s header went wide of the net. The other chance came from the newly signed Bayern Munich man Davies, whose left-footed strike from 25 yards out just missed wide in the 34th minute.

“I thought we had our chance with Alphonso and Yordy,” said Whitecaps Head Coach Carl Robinson. “We knew it was going to be a tough game, we tried to get that first goal, we went pretty aggressively in the first 30 minutes.”

The breakthrough finally came in the 39th minute when Jozy Altidore calmly slotted home a great backheel pass from Marco Delgado.

It was only five minutes later that Sebastian Giovinco headed home a low cross to make it a 2-0 game.

“Once they scored one we knew we needed to score two,” said Robinson. “I said to the guys at halftime just come out be brave try and play, concentrate.”

However, when the second half started it was TFC who kept pouring on the pressure.

In the 49th minute, Altidore ran to the net and tipped home a low cross from the wing to make it 3-0. Shortly after in the 53rd minute Altidore would complete the hat trick with a thundering header off a corner kick.

“The bigger the game the bigger the Jozy,” said Vanney. “In every one of these finals Jozy has stepped up and played a huge role in the outcome and tonight no different.”

Kei Kamara was able to break Clint Irwin’s shutout in the 63rd minute and Brek Shea made things interesting in the 77th when he slotted home a mad scramble in front to cut the score in half.

Tosaint Ricketts put any thoughts of a comeback to rest when he headed one home in the 80th to make it 5-2, which would be the final score.

Altidore wasn’t the only one to have a big night. Midfielder and Toronto native Jonathan Osorio continued his good year with some good midfield work. For his efforts was named the 2018 George Gross Memorial Trophy winner (tournament MVP).

The win is good for TFC. They struggled out of the gate this year and have been battling fatigue especially with all the traveling at the start of the year, but this win should be a bit of a confidence booster.

“Tonight was a really important night in our season. Obviously, league-wise we haven’t really been able to take off the way we would like to,” said Vanney. “It was also for us an important night to win a championship to get that back under out belt to use it as a way to build confidence and momentum.”

With the win TFC now qualifies for the CONCACAF Champions League, a tournament they finished second in last season.

As for Vancouver, it’s yet another loss in the Canadian Championship. It is the clubs seventh runner-up finish in the history of the tournament.

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