• Tuesday Jul 17, 2012

    Toronto returns to Champions League again



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    By Vijay Setlur

    TORONTO - Reggie Lambe scored with seven minutes remaining to give Toronto FC a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps and a fourth straight Amway Canadian Championship title.

    The goal completed a 2-1 aggregate win and sends Toronto, a semifinalist in this past season's CONCACAF Champions League, back to the confederation championship.

    "If you watch the whole game, we are the better team and we aimed to win and it's always nice when you win," Toronto coach Aron Winter said. "For me the second time a cup in Canada, but that you win also the final, that's great."

    It was the second straight year Toronto had beaten Vancouver in the final, and the fourth straight year the Whitecaps have finished runner-up for the Voyageurs Cup.

    (See the Amway Canadian Championship results).

    With both teams reduced to 10 men, Lambe took a pass from second-half substitute Nick Soolsma at the top of the penalty area, moved right to create space and sent a low drive by Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

    The win was only the second in 15 matches for Toronto since beating the LA Galaxy in the semifinals of the Championship.

    Toronto controlled much of the play, marred by eight cautions and two ejections.

    The latter came following a shoving match between Jamaican international Ryan Johnson, who knocked down Whitecaps striker Sebastian Le Toux. In the melee, Toronto FC midfielder Julian de Guzman appeared to strike Jun Marques Davidson, earning a red card from referee Silviu Petrescu. Seconds later, Petrescu ejected Le Toux for his role.

    That opened the field and TFC appeared to take the lead in the 81st minute when Soolsma redirected a Richard Eckersley centering pass into the goal, but the linesman ruled the play offside.

    Two minutes later, Lambe made it count, scoring his second goal of the competition and extending Toronto's unbeaten streak in the tournament to 13 matches.

    Toronto became the 21st team to secure a place in the 24-team Champions League, leaving only three Caribbean berths to be determined.

    (Review the 2012-2013 CONCACAF Champions League field).

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