Jozy_altidore_-_toronto_-_2018_ccl Canadian Press
CCL 2018

Three thoughts on Toronto's fist leg win over Club America

Toronto FC continued its 2018 CONCACAF Champions League campaing with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Mexico's Club America in the first leg of its semifinal clash. Here are some thoughts on the game from ASN's Brian Sciaretta
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
April 03, 2018
5:30 PM
THERE IS A TON OF work to do next week at Estadio Azteca, but Toronto FC got off to a strong start in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals with a 3-1 win over Club America in the first leg Tuesday night in Canada.

This was a very entertaining game that featured a lot of action but Toronto won because it enjoyed big contributions not just from its known designated players but throughout its entire lineup.

With goals from Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore, and Ashtone Morgan, Toronto will take a two goal advantage to

The game went full-CONCACAF after the final whistle with Club America boss Miguel Herrera accusing the Toronto police of assault against two of his players during a scuffle in the tunnel at halftime. Not to be outdone, Toronto midfielder Jonathan Osorio accused two of Club America’s staff of assault.

Here are my thoughts on the game.

Undermanned Toronto prevails

Toronto was the better team on Tuesday night and it did so without several important players. Justin Morrow, Victor Vazquez, Nick Hagglund and Chris Mavinga were all unable to take part on Tuesday due to injury. Hagglund won’t be available for the second leg but Mavinga, Morrow, and Vazquez were all in training earlier in the week.

Mavinga should be a huge boost to the team defensively as the French-born Congolese  international was in top form in the second leg against Tigres in the quarterfinal.

But this speaks to Toronto FC’s depth to be able to pull of such an important win without several starters.

Bono and Delgado showcase USMNT talent

Tuesday’s game show cased the both U.S. national team’s old guard and the newer generation. Both played well. Of course Jozy Altidore scored a big goal and Michael Bradley controlled the middle of the field, but that should be expected of two players who should be hungry following the biggest setback of their careers in 2017.

For central defender Marky Delgado and goalkeeper Alex Bono, both players had very good games to prove why they are currently in the national team picture.

Alex Bono appears to be the third keeper at the moment for the national team behind Zack Steffen and Bill Hamid but without the latter not player, he could rise to No. 2 in the depth chart. After a title-winning season in 2017 and his performance in the Champions League, he’s making a very good case that he deserves the No. 2 spot.

Last night, he maintained Toronto’s lead with important saves – including one at the very end to preserve the two goal advantage.

For Marky Delgado, he is also continuing a very good year of soccer with him. It started in 2017 but the start of the calendar year has seen his rise continue. Last week in his U.S. national team debut, he helped set up the winning penalty in a 1-0 victory over Paraguay. Against Club America, he was very effective helping to control the middle of the field. His pass completion percentage was high and he covered a lot of ground.

It is hard to see him starting for the U.S. national team at the moment when everyone is healthy but he is making a good case to be the first option if someone like Weston McKennie or Tyler Adams is injured.

The road ahead

What is needed for Toronto to prevail at Azteca? It is still going to be very hard for Toronto to win this but Greg Vanney’s team has a good chance. Defense is going to have to be exceptionally strong but the team will not be able to bunker for 90 minutes. Mexico City as Azteca is one of the greatest home-field advantages in soccer.

Club America will have its chances but on what Toronto is able to create, it will have to capitalize. An early goal for Toronto FC would give it an away goal and make it extremely hard for Club America.

Toronto has one of the most talented rosters an MLS team has ever assembled. Giovinco has the ability to make magic and make winning plays out of nothing.

This was never going to be easy but Toronto to a big step last night to give itself a good chance to advance to the final.

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