The Vancouver Whitecaps sealed their first Canadian Championship title since 2015 on Tuesday with a 5-3 penalty shootout win over Toronto FC following a 1-1 draw across 90 minutes.
In front of a 24,307-strong crowd at BC Place, Brian White opened the scoring for Vancouver, heading home a beautiful Ryan Gauld cross at the far post in the 19th minute.
Both sides continued to generate chances from there but it was Toronto, starting both Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi, who enjoyed more possession and time in the opposition third.
And Bernardeschi showed his quality in the 75th minute, curling a cross into the box with the outside of his foot to the unmarked Lukas MacNaughton, who made no mistake from close range.
Tosaint Ricketts forced an excellent save from TFC goalkeeper Alex Bono right at the end, but that was only a temporary delay in celebrations as the Whitecaps won 5-3 from the penalty spot.
Gauld, White, Julian Gressel, Andres Cubas and Tristan Blackmon all converted for the Whitecaps, while Domenico Criscito, Jordan Perruzza,and Bernardeschi scored for TFC. CanMNT midfielder Jonathan Osorio was the unlucky player to miss.
After losing in the 2016 and 2018 finals, VWFC have lifted the Canadian Championship for the first time since 2015 and only the second time ever.
Canadian Championship wins/runner-up:
Vancouver’s win also sees them book a spot in next season’s Concacaf Champions League, qualifying for the tournament for the first time since 2016.
“We said from day one that the Canadian Championship was one of our important trophies,” Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini said after the match. “We didn’t do well in the previous years. And it means everything because we are a very good team.
“So today, we will remind everyone that we are 100% a very good team. We are not the team who’s considered an elite killer. So winning a trophy for us is really important.”
Goalscorer White added: “Any time you get a trophy, it’s awesome. Toronto’s a good team and we struggled in this tournament in years past. So it means a lot for the club, for the fans to bring this trophy home.”
Returning to MLS action, Vancouver travel to Nashville SC on Saturday while Toronto are in Boston to face the New England Revolution.
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