6/2/2009 – By Gavin Day/concacaf.com
BURNABY, British Columbia — Ansu Toure’s first career goals for Vancouver gave the Whitecaps a 2-0 victory over Toronto FC on Tuesday, sending the Nutrilite Canadian Championship to the final game to decide the title.
Toronto needed a mere draw to claim its first Canadian Championship, but the result put Vancouver atop the three-team competition with nine points. Toronto remained with six and one game left against already eliminated Montreal on June 18. Vancouver has no games remaining.
Toronto must beat Montreal by four goals in or Vancouver will win the title and represent Canada in the CONCACAF Champions League.
“We are not through yet,” Whitecaps head coach Teitur Thordarsson said. “But if it ends up with us going through then I’m just delighted.
“If we manage to stay in the tournament, if we go through that will give us an opportunity to keep the team together for the whole winter and that is something different than what we have been doing.”
Toronto was without Marvell Wynne and Amado Guevara, who were both away on international duty, as well as regular goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who was injured.
Vancouver was without captain Martin Nash, who was suspended after picking up his second yellow card against Montreal on May 27. Defender Wesley Charles took the captain’s armband in his place.
Toure’s first goal came in the 31st minute after he tucked a first time shot from the left side past TFC keeper Greg Sutton.
The play started when Marcus Haber headed a ball down to Wes Knight on the right side. Knight’s shot was punched by Sutton, but the ball landed at the feet of an unmarked Toure and he scored into an open net to the delight of the capacity crowd of 5,688.
Toronto nearly replied in the 38th minute. Pablo Vitti played Dwayne De Rosario through alone on Vancouver keeper Jay Nolly. De Rosario’s chip beat Nolly but a scrambling Lyle Martin cleared the ball off the line.
Their roles were reversed in the 41st minute. This time, De Rosario played Vitti in on the right hand side but his screamer struck the upright to Nolly’s left.
Toronto came out in the second half the way they finished the first. De Rosario had a free kick on the right side and his cross found Chad Barrett six yards in front of the goal, but his free header went into Nolly’s arms.
Vancouver avoided another equalizer in the 76th minute. Danny Dichio headed a long cross to an onrushing Sam Cronin, but Jeff Parke deflected his shot over the bar.
Despite coming close time and again, Toronto interim head coach Chris Cummins was blunt when assessing his team’s play.
“I’ve got to say it as I see it; I’m not going to gloss over things,” Cummins said. “The better team won on the night, no doubt about it. I’ve got to question (our) hunger, desire, passion, willingness to want to learn and win, and I’ve got to say Vancouver had that and we never did.
“We’ve had chances again. If you’re not clinical in front of goal, you’re not going to get anything. We’ve had chances, we haven’t played well. We could have played shockingly and won and I’d have been happy.”
Toure’s second came in the 82nd minute. Charles Gbeke found Toure just inside the penalty area, and his stunning strike snuck into the top corner to Sutton’s left.
“Toronto is a good team,” Toure said. “To score two goals against Toronto, that means so much to me. So I’m very happy for my team.”
Toronto defender Kevin Harmse, who scored in the opening game against Vancouver, picked up his second yellow card of the tournament. He will miss the final game in Montreal.