Toronto FC chasing after first leg with Guadalajara

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Sebastian Giovinco
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Sebastian Giovinco /

TFC aren’t off to the strongest of starts after a 2-1 defeat to Guadalajara at BMO Field in the Champions League Final first leg.

Greg Vanney came out with a completely fresh lineup, with Chris Mavinga checking in and the likes of Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Jonathan Osorio starring in attacking positions. However, it didn’t seem to matter for Toronto FC after the 90 minutes.

Another second minute slip-up from the Reds was followed by a Alan Pulido goal in the 72nd minute, to give Chivas an enormous advantage heading back to Mexico.

All of the life was sucked out of BMO Field at the start. when a huge low ball played from Isaac Brizuela found the one-time foot of Ridolfo Pizarro to give Guadalajara a 1-0 lead with just two minutes played.

Mavinga must have been feeling shaky to start, which is expected. However, he was completely flat-footed as this low ball could have been cleared if he stuck a toe out.

Marky Delgado came back against his former club with a pitch-perfect low cross of his own that was tapped home by Osorio. If TFC win the Champions League, the Canadian has to be given the MVP award. Osorio is now on four beautiful goals in the competition.

Giovinco set up his own free kick opportunity, as Michael Perez dragged him down right in the Atomic Ant’s sweet spot outside the box. A curling shot from the Italian was not enough to fool Chivas keeper Miguel Jimenez.

Giovinco and Altidore tried to link up as the latter accepted a nutmeg pass from the Italian forward. However, Altidore’s shot surprisingly was inches from the post.

Chances were traded at both ends for quite a bit of time throughout the end of the first half and the start of the second 45 minutes. Alex Bono found some comfort in net as he made a huge save on a powerful Pulido shot in the 53rd minute.

Drew Moor took an awful foul on the far left side of Bono. What looked to be a cross at first from Pulido turned out to be a stunning shot into the opposite side of the Toronto net.

Giovinco tried to earn some attention in the box right after the goal as he went down after a through ball from Eriq Zavaleta. The referee wasn’t falling for it, and it was pretty much lights out for the North after that.

Key Stats

Toronto FC

  • 18 shots
  • 7 shots on target
  • 55 percent possession
  • Key Player: Delgado was a secret weapon for a good portion of the fixture.


  • 15 shots
  • 7 shots on target
  • 13 fouls
  • Key Player: Alan Pulido with two high quality chances in the second half and a brilliant goal.

TFC Subs: Clint Irwin, Justin Morrow, Ager Aketxe, Eriq Zavaleta, Jordan Hamilton, Tosaint Ricketts, Nicolas Hasler

What’s next for the Reds?

Very interesting decision from Vanney to keep Morrow, Aketxe and Zavaleta on the bench to start. After the weekend lineup against the Colorado Rapids, there really should have been no excuse from the Toronto FC coach to not play the three for the full 90 in this fixture.

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Morrow’s decision was probably the biggest of them all, as nobody could cover the wing well for Toronto. Osorio was somehow playing there to start, and he was getting beat easily. Also worth noting that Moor’s goal-deciding foul was in the same vicinity.

The lineup has to be the biggest negative from the fixture. If TFC are willing to drop points in the MLS to come out strong in the Champions League, they need to do just that. Benching three regulars after a weekend of rest is a huge question mark on the part of Vanney.

At the same time, quality chances from the Reds were shut down for the most part in the first half. TFC had little-to-no momentum to carry over, and Chivas fed on this.

The North have another MLS fixture this upcoming Saturday with the Houston Dynamo. It will be intriguing to see the starting sheet for sure, as they game for silverware is just four days after from that.

Stay tuned, and don’t get your TFC coverage anywhere else other than Tip of the Tower.

Next: Jason Hernandez should prove to be a good signing

How would you best summarize Tuesday night’s game? Do you see Toronto FC coming back in the second leg to claim silverware, or has the first leg ruined their chances? Share your thoughts in the comments below!