Voyageurs Cup Final: The Home Leg – Will Toronto FC Advance To The CCL Tonight?
Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact ~ June 27th ~ 730pm ET ~ BMO Field ~ TSN 1/3/4/5
It’s Final time! Tonight at BMO Field the 2017 Voyageurs Cup will be decided between TFC and the Impact – while not quite as much fun as beating the Whitecaps (under the requisite bizarre or dramatic situation), beating the cheesemakers is always delightful so fingers crossed we get the desired outcome. Last week’s away leg had a few dramatic moments, but ultimately the match was a scrappy grind that ended in a 1-1 draw (putting Toronto in the driver’s seat for tonight). Games between Toronto and the Impact are generally emotional, feisty affairs as there’s little love lost between the two teams (plus we play them a million times every year). The Impact are also still looking to redeem themselves after last year’s Eastern Conference Final defeat (still the best night ever), and Toronto FC will be looking to ensure that doesn’t happen.
I love the Voyageurs Cup – I may have mentioned this a few times before – and it is always a highlight for me in TFC’s season. What has been gratifying this year (Ottawa game notwithstanding) has been seeing Toronto taking the tournament seriously and showing a real desire to win and advance into the CCL; something the majority of the core fanbase has been waiting for, and wanting for several years. Having Bill Manning in charge of the team was cause for hope in this regard as his previous team (Real Salt Lake), was the first MLS team to really take the CCL seriously and have a history of committing to the tournament – seeing that commitment brought to Toronto is a real positive in Manning’s tenure with the club.
If TFC win this evening they are automatically entered into this year’s CCL tournament, should the Impact win then we’ll all be back here in August for a one off match to determine who advances. Thanks to the Gold Cup gods TFC have almost their entire first choice XI available for selecti0n (only Justin Morrow is missing) in tonight’s match. Expect to see exactly that from Greg Vanney – the strongest XI (plus the requisite Canadians), that he can field. This is what I think we’ll see:
There’s a chance that Tosaint Ricketts could start instead of Hamilton,but having just come back from injury I expect that Vanney will wait until the second half to inject him into the game. In the same vein it could be Armando Cooper instead of Marky Delgado, but I think that Delgado’s cooler head is a better choice to start the game, bringing Cooper on to mix things up when the Impact are (hopefully) tiring will have more of an impact on the match. The cheesemakers are in a similarly strong place and aren’t missing anyone crucial at the moment (they won’t be losing any of their players to the Gold Cup until tomorrow), so Biello will throw his very best out there.
I expect tonight’s game to be fast, feisty, and full of goals. While Montreal are underachieving in MLS play, games like this tend to see them raise their game and it’s rare to not see a hard fought contest between these two teams. The passion and emotion in these games is part of what makes it fun, and only adds to the atmosphere – which is already amped up for this tournament – it generally means a great night of football, and I expect no less tonight. I’m sticking with my podcast prediction of 3-1.