The Montreal Impact’s hopes of qualifying for CONCACAF Champions League were put in serious jeopardy on Wednesday night in Toronto as goals from Doneil Henry and Andrew Wiedeman gave Toronto FC an important advantage in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals.
With an eye on the upcoming MLS fixtures on Saturday, both coaches rested their star offensive talents and fielded primarily second string lineups instead. The result was a first half devoid of scoring opportunities as both sides lacked the quality to create anything meaningful in the final third.
The game only came alive in the second half as Toronto opened the scoring in the 49th minute through Henry, whose strike from outside the box beat backup Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush to his right.
In a bid to change the Impact’s fortunes in the match, Argentinian midfielder Andres Romero and recent Italian signing Daniele Paponi entered the fray a few minutes later, but like the first half, the Impact couldn’t muster any noteworthy chances as the TFC defense held strong.
Making matters for the Impact, Toronto doubled its lead in the 81st minute with Wiedeman finishing off a counter attack after Montreal defender Karl Ouimette poorly gave the ball away in midfield.
With the Reds comfortably holding on to the two goal advantage, the Impact will be left with a big mountain to climb when the sides meet in one week's time at Saputo Stadum in Montreal.