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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

TFC grabs the NutCan long-distance style

"Hands off my trophy losers."


To badly paraphrase Winston Churchill: "Never have eleven men done so little to gain so much"

Yes, while Toronto FC were just finishing up their weekly Wednesday night fondue party/ book club (we assume - but likely) Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps were doing "battle" (more a humid skirmish) down the 401. With L'Impact already eliminee dans le Can du Nut it was up to Vancouver to get a win and force the Canadian Championship to a final deciding match at BMO Field next week. The only question was if L'Impact would wave the white flag of surrender (think about it) as they did last year in the final against TFC.

The match was your average rough and tumble USL-style tilt with chances going both ways and technical prowess in short supply. Vancouver managed to take a 1-0 lead in the second half and seemed to have the upper hand but in no way did Montreal roll over like in 2009. L'Impact in fact turned the tide completely and found the equalizer, deflating the Whitecaps' cup dream in the process. The second half continued at a frantic and rough pace but the 1-1 draw remained, ending the match, and the NutCan ,with Toronto FC absently being awarded the trophy for 2010.

The melted cheese was no doubt spilled in excitement as TFC claimed its second straight NutCan and will head into CONCACAF Champions League. Overall, the winning of this Canadian Championship is the least climactic football award since Sheffield Wednesday beat Arsenal in the 1944 FA Cup after a spelling bee, but a win is a win. TFC will get the chance to parade the trophy at home and have a restful friendly against Vancouver next week as opposed to a hard final.

TFC got the job done in 2010 and the fact that winning in such an anti-climactic manner doesn't bother the locals shows a higher level of expectation. Winning this trophy was expected in Toronto this year, not just wanted. For most Reds supporters, Tegucigalpa, Honduras was already on the flight itinerary and getting past C.D. Motagua and into the CCL Group Stage is the new goal. Maybe no NutCan parade down Bay Street tomorrow but maybe a celebratory fondue bucket over Preki's head tonight. He seems like the happy-go-lucky type, no?

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