Toronto FC won its third straight NCC title on Saturday with a win over Vancouver.
For Vancouver, the loss was a tough one to swallow after taking a 1-0 lead into the break. Camilo Sanvezzo put the Whitecaps in a great position, with a 1-0 lead and a 2-1 aggregate advantage, with a stunning free kick 21 minutes into the match. But Toronto fought back to level the match in the 51st minute through a Joao Plata penalty before finding the winner 10 minutes later through Mikael Yourassowky.
"It's disappointing to lose in the fashion we did, going up 1-0," Whitecaps midfielder Terry Dunfield said of the match. "We talked about it at halftime about being solid and even pushing for the second goal. It's easy to say, but we didn't do it. We’ll have to look back at the video and see, but with so much at stake, this is where players need to step up and do it. We were left wanting and that's what makes it frustrating because we were so close."
For Toronto, the second half showing was enough to qualify the club for the preliminary rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League.
After coming close on several occasions in the first half, including a goal that was disallowed, Plata's penalty finally put the tie back on level pegging, but not without a bit of controversy.
Plata's first attempt at the penalty was saved by Vancouver 'keeper Joe Cannon, but referee Dave Gantar judged that Cannon had come off his line, and Plata made no mistake with the second shot from the spot.
"We got over the score, and went on to score our first, then the second, and we kept going and gave ourselves the confidence to get over their team," tournament MVP Plata said of his team's ability to push past the early disappointments.
The second goal, and the eventual winner, resulted from TFC's constant pushes forward. Plata played in the cross after being set free by Julian de Guzman, and Yourassowky's finish gave Toronto the lead its play deserved.
Vancouver's late push nearly netted a deciding goal, but Eric Hassli's wasted chance in the 82nd saw the Whitecaps come up just short of becoming the top team in Canada.
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