Toronto FC in Canadian Championship final after beating Whitecaps
Nakajima-Farran notches decisive goal in shootout
Issey Nakajima-Farran scored the decisive goal in the shootout Wednesday as Toronto FC defeated the hometown Vancouver Whitecaps 5-3 on penalty kicks to advance to the final of the Amway Canadian Championship.
Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik stopped Vancouver's Kekuta Manneh in the second round of the shootout with a diving save to his right to give the Reds the advantage.
Vancouver led 2-1 after 120 minutes of action to tie the aggregate score 3-3 following Toronto's 2-1 victory at BMO Field last week.
Toronto will take on Montreal in the national final after the Impact beat FC Edmonton 4-2 earlier Wednesday to take that semi 5-4.
Erik Hurtado and Pedro Morales, from the penalty spot, had the goals in normal time for the Whitecaps, who went with a young lineup for the second straight game against their Canadian rivals.
Doneil Henry had the goal in the normal time for Toronto.
After Henry and Hurtado scored in the first half, Vancouver came out needing another to force extra time in the two-game, total-goals series and spent most of the final 45 minutes in the visitors' half.
The Whitecaps had a number of chances to get that goal, and it finally came in the 86th minute after Henry brought down Hurtado in Toronto's 18-yard box.
Morales stepped up to the penalty spot and beat Bendik to his right to give Vancouver a 2-1 edge in the game and tie the score 3-3, with both teams having one crucial away goal.
The Chilean then had another chance before the 90 minutes expired, but Bendik foiled his effort from in close in a wild final few minutes in front of an electric crowd at B.C. Place Stadium.
The pace was less frenetic in extra time until Toronto substitute Dwayne De Rosario hit the post behind Vancouver 'keeper Marco Carducci midway through the second 15-minute period on a shot that stayed out. Fellow Toronto sub Daniel Lovitz then forced Carducci into a finger-tips save on a shot that also grazed the crossbar.
Toronto opened the scoring in the fourth minute off an innocent-looking free kick. Michael Bradley floated a ball into the Vancouver 18-yard box from near the halfway line that the 17-year-old Carducci couldn't deal with after coming together with Toronto's Nick Hagglund.
Vancouver defender Christian Dean scrambled to clear off the line, but Henry was right there to poke a shot home for a 1-0 lead that silenced the raucous crowd.
Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson dressed a young lineup in last week's first leg and did the same on Wednesday night, despite not having a game this weekend on the Major League Soccer schedule.
His players repaid that confidence by going on the front foot despite falling behind early and were rewarded when Morales, one of the few veterans in the lineup, played Hurtado in alone on a lovely pass over the top in the 43rd minute. The striker with a hard-to-miss blonde Mohawk moved in alone and cooly finished with a shot into the bottom left corner past a helpless Bendik.
The tying goal was well-deserved, with the Whitecaps coming in waves at times. Hurtado had a legitimate shout for a penalty in the 12th minute before Manneh, who scored in the first leg, forced a great tackle from Henry moments later.
Morales and Manneh then got crossed up after some great movement in the 18th minute, with the latter firing harmlessly wide from in close.
Toronto's only other chances of note in the half came with Carducci making a great diving save off a Bradley free kick before Morales cleared a Hagglund header off the line on the ensuing corner.
Morales then had another chance in first-half stoppage time, but Hagglund cleared a shot off the Vancouver midfielder's forehead and out of danger from right in front of the Toronto goal.
The Whitecaps have never won the Canadian championship trophy. Toronto FC won the title four straight years from 2009 through 2012, while the Montreal Impact won the inaugural competition in 2008 and again last year.