Ten-man Toronto FC grabbed its first home win of 2012 in downing the Montreal Impact 2-0. The win sees the Reds to the final of the Canadian Championship.A second minute strike from Reggie Lambe and an opportunistic goal from Ryan Johnson gave Toronto FC a 2-0 win against the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night, lifting a 10-man TFC to the final of the Amway Canadian Championship.
The Reds grabbed an early lead thanks to an industrious run from Joao Plata, who weaved his way into the Montreal area before unleashing a shot that was blocked. The re-directed ball fell to an onrushing Lambe, who - with the help of a fortuitous deflection off a diving Impact defender - picked out the far corner of Donovan Ricketts' goal.
Toronto's fortunes changed for the worse just after the quarter hour mark, when defender Richard Eckersley was ejected for a midfield collision in which his counterpart took the brunt of the punishment.
Montreal began to assert itself after going up a man, and the visiting side had numerous half-chances that didn't challenge Milos Kocic in the TFC goal. Eventually it was Toronto which found the net again, this time through Ryan Johnson in the 38th minute.
Johnson pounced on a loose ball in front of the Montreal area after Reds captain Torsten Frings fired a low, hard cross into the Impact six-yard box.
That was all the scoring in the opening frame, as a charged-up Toronto side brought a 2-0 lead into the halftime break despite being a man down for most of the opening 45 minutes.
The second half started with Montreal on the front foot, as the Impact knew they needed goals. A change in formation brought about a very attacking stance from the visitors, and they began to dominate possession.
In the 53rd minute, Montreal got its first great chance at goal, with Sinisa Ubiparipovic getting off a point-blank shot that Kocic did extremely well to stop.
Ten minutes later, the Impact came close again, this time via a Felipe curling free kick that hit the outside of the Toronto goal. The Brazilian's shot was so well-placed that it actually fooled many in the stadium into thinking that the ball had found the back of the TFC net.
That was all the offense the Impact would muster, though, as Toronto seemed to shrug off the numbers disadvantage and spend the better part of the final 20 minutes swarming the Impact goal, prompting a number of good Ricketts stops to keep the score close.
With the win, Toronto FC moves on to the final of the Canadian Championship, with the Reds facing the winner of the Vancouver Whitecaps-FC Edmonton series - to be finalized later Wednesday night in B.C. - next week.