Concacaf disappointment in Panama for TFC.
Toronto FC’s CONCACAF Champions League hopes were left in tatters following their 4-0 first-leg demolition at the hands of Independiente in the last 16.
Last year’s finalists Toronto missed a penalty and conceded three goals in a disastrous second half. As the MLS team were left with a mountain to climb on Tuesday.
Toronto was playing their first competitive match since selling star attacker Sebastian Giovinco to Saudi Arabian giants Al-Hilal last month. While United States international Jozy Altidore’s future is also uncertain.
The night started badly when Abdiel Ayarza scored for the home side in just the ninth minute of action. He took advantage of some sluggish defending. Before firing it home through Chris Mavinga’s legs.
Things did not improve from there. The Reds sent in several waves of attack through the rest of the first half, making the keeper work on several occasions. Before they eventually won a penalty after a short period of sustained attack. Hoping to score his first TFC goal on his debut in a red shirt, Terrence Boyd stepped up to take it. But it turns out he, too, is afflicted with the spot kick curse that has plagued Toronto for a while now.
TFC made no changes at halftime, and they were quickly made to pay for it. Just minutes into the second 45, Omar Browne sidestepped a sliding Laurent Ciman and finished with quite a pretty shot from outside the box that sailed over Alex Bono.
It was a good finish. But the defending on TFC’s part was seriously lacklustre.
Things went from bad to worse in the 52nd minute. When TFC’s backline was caught pressing way too high once again. As Mavinga failed to keep up with the attacker. Before he laid it off for Romeesh Ivey.
The next half hour or so went pretty quickly. As TFC launched several stunted attacks before conceding again. Embarrassingly. In the 78th minute as Ivey scored his second of the match.
It was excruciating to watch from a Toronto FC perspective. But full credit must be given to Independiente, for what’s surely one of the best results in their club history. A 4-0 victory against the favoured MLS team wasn’t foreseen.
It doesn’t look much like TFC will be repeating their cycle of losing a final on penalties before winning the competition the following year. Heading back home to BMO Field next week with a 4-0 deficit, the Reds will be extremely hard-pressed to salvage their Concacaf Champions League campaign.
TFC handed first-team debuts to four players. Terrence Boyd, Laurent Ciman, Griffin Dorsey, and Jacob Shaffelburg. The latter had some impressive moments, including showing exciting pace and skill.
The only bright spot Toronto FC would have been returning to Canada with an away goal. However, the Reds came away empty. Therefore, they will have a massive hill to climb if they are to extend their 2019 CCL beyond the opening round.
Head coach for TFC was clearly not impressed. He said: “I think pretty much on all levels we were outcompeted. It was a disappointing evening for us.”