Toronto FC are still … Toronto FC.
TORONTO, Canada—First off, for those who were in attendance on Wednesday evening, we commend you. It was raining cats and dogs, the wind was blowing sideways, ticket prices were … uhh … yeah – but you still showed up to cheer on your local team(s), and for that, you experienced a historic night – the first ever ‘Toronto Derby’ – one that will surely be referred to in future years.
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) September 23, 2021
“Yes, the night, it was rainy, and you know, for fans that were here, it’s greatly appreciated,” said Toronto FC head coach Javier Perez after the match. “We’re happy to see that everybody was engaged.”
And if you were one of the few that attended Wednesday’s match, you were also able to witness in-person what both clubs – York United and Toronto FC – referred to as an important night at BMO Field – one that saw the Reds send a message:
“I think putting a strong lineup, send the message to everybody in the team, in the club, how important this competition is for us, how important was the game for us, and there is no small opponent,” said Perez postgame. “To take it seriously, you have to send that message. You have to put the strongest team and let them know that we have to go and get the result, get the job done.
“And I think the players tonight, they show(ed) up and I’m very happy because it’s another game that they show a strong performance, and as I said before, the team looks to start clicking.”
Prior to the match, there were rumblings that Canadian Premier League side York United genuinely believed they could have pulled off an upset. There were doubts from TFC fans as to whether or not they would be able to advance considering the form both sides have been in this season, but the Reds put all of those concerns to rest early in this match, dominating their up-town rivals from start to finish.
The seven-time Canadian Championship winners let everyone know that they still are Toronto FC – with a 4-0 drubbing that likely should have finished closer to 6-0 – despite their woeful performance in the league this season.
Don’t get me wrong: this does not gloss over the fact that Toronto FC have had a historically bad season. But when you couple this performance with their recent outings in the league – a win against Nashville SC and a loss that likely should’ve been a win against Inter Miami CF – it does signify that this team hasn’t thrown in the white towel just yet. It tells me that they know that there’s still much to play for – including the majority of their jobs – and they do not want to go out in the embarrassing fashion that’s been the norm this season.
They want to remind everyone, in the best possible way that they can, that this is still Toronto FC and there’s still a lot of pride left in that locker room.
Whether or not a solid end to the campaign – and perhaps their eighth Canadian Championship – will be enough to convince the fanbase that there’s a light at the end of this very dark tunnel is a different question, but at least we’re getting the sense that this team still cares, which isn’t something that TFC fans were able to say just a few weeks ago.
“To win like this, the way we are supposed to, yeah, it’s a big confidence boost,” said Canadian international Jonathan Osorio after the game. “I think the last two games have been very good in the season. … These are all three positives performances in a row. This is good for the team and we just want to end the season strong, and then of course, in this championship we are looking to bring it home.”
Jonathan Osorio. pic.twitter.com/vKJdXfe7vF
— Sean Pollock (@seanpollock) September 23, 2021