A 1-2 win on the night was just enough to level the aggregate score during the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League Final. A Jozy Altidore tap in and Sebastian Giovinco pinpoint strike into the bottom corner sent Greg Vanney’s men into penalty kicks.
If you offered Vanney and team penalty kicks to win the cup in Mexico back in January, he would have bit your hand off to take the deal. Ever since winning the 2017 MLS Cup Final, his eyes have been on continental success. Since it was rebranded as the Champions League back in 2008, no MLS team has on the competition.
While they openly spoke about their ambitions of winning, there were many fans, reporters and pundits who doubted their ability succeed. The Canadian team’s quality was never in question, but playing an away leg in Mexico? That’s a whole different ballgame.
Vanney and his side had their blinders on, ignoring the doubters as they knocked out Colorado, Tigres UANL and Club America. In it until the very last second, Toronto showed the footballing world what they were made of. Now that their CONCACAF journey is over, where is the team headed?
Participating in the CONCACAF has set TFC back in the league. With one win and four losses, they sit uncomfortably at the bottom of the league, 14-points off Eastern Conference leaders NYC FC. Resting his key players and starting the reserves was a risky tactic by Vanney, but none of that matters now. It’s time to get back to work and start winning games. The Reds won’t be too worried, as their record-breaking season last year had a similarly slow start.
The Canadian Championship
Not the most difficult competition TFC will play in by any means, but potentially the most important. Winning the competition will earn them a one-way ticket back into the CONCACAF Champions League next season, where vengeance will be on the minds of every TFC player.
A handful of big-name players are out of contract at the end of 2018, such as Alex Bono, Eriq Zavaleta, Marky Delgado and Jonathan Osorio to name a few. With some outstanding performances in recent weeks, General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko will want to secure these player’s signatures as soon as possible.
At the end of the day, Toronto FC fans should have very little to worry about right now. A disappointing loss in a penalty shootout does not overshadow the fact that this team is as strong as it has ever been. It is one of the best run first teams in the league, and the horizon only has positive things to offer. So, what’s next for Toronto FC? Likely success.