Toronto FC hold advantage over Rapids in CONCACAF after first leg

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 29: Jonathan Osorio
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 29: Jonathan Osorio /

Toronto FC kicked off the 2018 campaign with a fixture against the Colorado Rapids in the CONCACAF Champions League, scoring a pair of goals for the early advantage in the tie.

If there was a favourable result that Toronto FC wanted in their first CONCACAF matchup, it was to have the advantage in aggregate scoring going back to BMO Field.

It took some time for TFC to get things going, before Jonathan Osorio’s header attempt went past goalkeeper Tim Howard and into the top corner for a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute.  Not too long after, one of TFC’s newest offseason additions Auro, fed Sebastian Giovinco for a beautiful assist, but an even better goal.

The pair of goals on the road puts Toronto at an easy advantage over the Rapids. A collision at BMO Field will surely be determined by the Reds’ tactic of choice, but they are seemingly in control.

The score suggests the usual type of win for TFC. However, the goals were hard to come by. Toronto showed signs of preseason football in this one, and it displayed for a good 50 minutes of the contest.

However, signs of early dominance from last season also transpired in this fixture. Giovinco led the way with an early shot on Howard. At the same time, perhaps the Reds were testing the pitch a bit too much in the opening 10 minutes.

Colorado came back with some chances of their own. Dominique Badji got the best chance for the Rapids past the 20-minute mark, as one-touch play sent in the striker. Alex Bono was there to save the day with an amazing stop with the gloves.

More chances such as one for Badji occurred for a good period of time in the first half. Admittedly, the attacking core of Toronto had some very poor first-touches that led to a lot of missed opportunities.

Jozy Altidore was caught offside frequently in this contest. Maybe the eye was saying too much, but the American looked a bit caught off guard each time Giovinco took a shot into traffic.

Altidore himself got sent in after the first goal from Osorio, but his shot went way over the bar. The forward was near the net, but again, these are things to expect in the preseason.

The two goals came less than 20 minutes apart, and the Rapids looked out of the contest after the second goal. TFC did a nice job playing clock-management football by shutting down any chance from Colorado for the final 30 minutes.

Men of the Match:

Hats off to both Osorio and Marky Delgado. Both really controlled play in the middle of the park which ultimately freed attention from Michael Bradley.

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Aside from Osorio’s goal, his footwork and play progression really stood out in this fixture. Countless times he was seen dribbling the ball through his legs and he frequently took the ball down the wing.

Delgado did really nice in a sort of defending role ahead of Bradley. When the crucial 20 minutes were left in the game, Delgado was very noticeable when winning duels in the midfield.

The former Chivas USA product did a nice job moving the ball to Victor Vazquez, Giovinco and Altidore, too.

Key Stats:

Toronto FC

  • Seven shots on target
  • 62 percent possession
  • Key Player: Osorio

Colorado Rapids

  • Three shot on target
  • 38 percent possession
  • Key Player(s): Badji and Jack McBean provided for a majority of the club’s chances

TFC Subs: Clint Irwin, Ashtone Morgan, Jay Chapman, Eriq Zavaleta, Ben Spencer, Jordan Hamilton and Nicolas Hasler

Other Champions League Matches: An entertaining contest between Tigres and Herdiano ended in a 2-2 draw. Tigres are heavy favorites as the winner of the competition. Keep an eye out for this tie.

With a MLS style lineup used by Greg Vanney, it looks like the Reds might be going all in on the Champions League. It was a slow start, but a very strong and convincing finish from Toronto today.

Toronto get a good chance at closing out this tie next Tuesday, Feb. 27 at BMO Field. The match will take place at 8:00 P.M. (ET), and as usual, we’ll have all the coverage right here on Tip of the Tower.

Next: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of TFC’s kits

Overall thoughts on the first leg? Can Toronto FC transition this momentum to finish off the tie in the second leg? Who is the player to watch for in the next fixture? Let us know in the comments section below.