Toronto FC advance to the 2022 Canadian Championship Semi-Finals

May 24, 2022 – Major League Soccer (MLS) – Toronto FC News Release



TOR – Michael Bradley 55′ (Jordan Perruzza)

HFX – Samuel Salter 69′ (Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé)

TOR – Jonathan Osorio 86′ (Jacob Shaffelburg)


TOR – Ralph Priso 28′ (caution)

HFX – Andre Rampersad 53′ (caution)

TOR – Shane O’Neill 53′ (caution)

TOR – Ayo Akinola 90+1′ (caution)


TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Kosi Thompson (Carlos Salcedo 85′), Lukas MacNaughton, Shane O’Neill, Luca Petrasso; Michael Bradley (C), Ralph Priso (Jonathan Osorio HT), Deandre Kerr (Jesús Jiménez HT); Jayden Nelson, Ifunanyachi Achara (Ayo Akinola HT), Jordan Perruzza (Jacob Shaffelburg 70′)

Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Themi Antonoglou

HFX WANDERERS FC – Christian Oxner; Zachary Fernandez, Peter Schaale, Eriks Santos, Colin Gander; Aidan Daniels, Andre Rampersad (C) (Akeem Garcia 67′), Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé (Mohamed Omar 84′); Samuel Salter, Elhadji Mour Samb (Ryan Robinson 90′), Marcello Polisi

Substitutes Not Used: Kieran Baskett, Mateo Restrepo, Kareem Sow, Pierre Lamothe


With tonight’s goal, Jonathan Osorio becomes the leading goalscorer in Canadian Championship history with seven (7) goals, moving past Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Ignacio Piatti on six (6) goals.

Jesús Jiménez, Deandre Kerr, Jayden Nelson, Shane O’Neill, Luca Petrasso, Ralph Priso, Carlos Salcedo and Kosi Thompson made their first appearances in the Canadian Championship today.

Toronto FC played a competitive match at a Canadian Premier League ground (Wanderers Grounds) for the first time in club history.

Toronto FC advance to the semi-finals of the 2022 Canadian Championship and will take on the winner of CF Montréal versus Forge FC in June.


Q. Can we start with your overall thoughts, especially how you thought the tempo changed at halftime with the substitutions?

Yeah, it’s a hard match and Halifax was obviously well prepared. They were really motivated. The crowd was great.

I thought in the first half our tempo was too slow. I think too many guys were getting stuck with the ball. There were too many times where the extra touches that were only getting us into trouble and look, we are fortunate that in that situation, we’ve got guys that football-wise, can help those things. So that made a big difference. Still goes to the end.

And so credit to Halifax. Stephen does a good job, and they have a good group of players. Tonight, you could tell, they were ready.

Q. You mentioned halftime there. Wanted to get your opinion on the difference between playing a team in the CPL and maybe playing an MLS side.

Every place I’ve been, when you first enter the Cup and you play away games against teams like Halifax, it’s the same around the world. Those games just take on a whole different feeling. You’ve got to be at your best, you’ve got to be sharp.

And oftentimes, if you are just a little bit off in certain moments, the other team starts to believe and they hang in there and then the game becomes a real fight. That’s what tonight is all about. It’s like cup matches that I’ve seen in a lot of different places.

Q. Oso in the game — as a coach, when he’s been scoring two goals — what’s your take on that?

Jonathan is a good player, and he’s had some injuries lately. And when he’s not in our midfield, it makes it really easy for every team to just focus on Michael. Daniel’s job at the beginning of the game was to follow Michael.

When Oso is there, there are moments when the team is trying to (mark Michael), Michael moves a little bit, the first past goes to Oso. And those two have a really good understanding, and then Oso also has really good timing to go get into the box. So for us he’s a really important player.

Q. Some injuries — they have had a lot of injuries the last few weeks. Why is it that you think?

Soft tissue. So we look hard at our training loads. We would like to continue trying to be a team that presses a little bit more and plays at a little higher tempo.

You have to train them in those ways. We got through preseason, five weeks where that part, the foundation was built in a very good way. There were no soft tissue injuries and then we’ve had some since, and they are all different. And they are all different. They are all strange.

Most of them have not been acute injuries where they are all running and they feel something. It’s something where they come out of the game and something feels off, a little fatigue. We look hard at all that. I’m not sure.

There are times I know when other teams in the world are in the process of trying to change the way they play. And then in those early days, maybe because the game model and training is different. Some of that takes time, so that’s stuff that we work with our performance staff and our medical staff to see if we can keep trying to find answers and better ways to do things.

Q. On Jacob, he’s had injuries, how much did he want to get back for this game and how much does it mean to him just to be able to play here?

Yeah, he was really excited. Jacob is a really good kid. He’s still growing as a professional. He’s still learning every day. But I think anybody who has spent time around him knows that he’s a really good guy. And so growing up around here to come and play, and he came on to help, so I was happy for him.

Q. About Jacob, if you can give more of an evaluation of his performance off the bench. I think he made a really smart play when he played that ball across the box that led to Oso’s goal, and what did you make of the way he played over the last 20 minutes?

He was excited. So the part that you always have from Jacob is his willingness to run, his willingness to try to get on the end of a ball and you know, one of the things that he has is that when he does get down the left side, he’s got a good ability to get balls across.

At that point in the game, you know, we switched a little bit more to a 4-4-2 so that he can be in that left midfield spot. Jayden pushed out a little wider on the right and then obviously Jesús played around or underneath Ayo, and we thought that was a good way to finish the game. Part of it was we thought it put Jacob in the best possible situation to make a play like the one he made.


Q. Can you start with your overall impression of what this whole experience has been like, the intensity of the match, the whole experience?

It was good. Obviously I think these matches are important for our country and our sport and honestly it was a great experience coming over here and seeing the atmosphere here.

I imagine it’s probably one of the better ones in the CPL and it was great to see their fans come and support them and push their team and give their team belief. That’s great. That’s great for our country, for the CPL, for everything, the soccer and yeah, we got the win, so that helps. That’s good.

Q. Can you walk us through the second goal?

It became a little bit of a chaotic game and they got a lot of confidence off the goal. Obviously the pressure is on us to finish it. So I don’t really remember how we got up the field. We got up the field and I think somebody slipped to Jacob and he took a touch wide, I think, which he had a chance to go on goal and be the hero but he took a touch wide and he did really well to put it back across.

As soon as he touched the ball wide, I see the opening in the back. When he puts it there, it leads for good things and luckily I hit it — I didn’t hit it the way I wanted it to be honest. I hit it a little too high but it was close enough. I hit off the crossbar.

Q. You’ve played for the international team and you’ve mentioned the importance of those games, is there anything surprised you that you weren’t expecting playing a team from the CPL?

No, I played with them — we played them twice last year. Surprise me, no. I think the level in the [Canadian Premier] League gets better every year. It’s good to see the young players there. I think there’s a couple there that they perform really well, and they brought the intensity as they should. In these games, I think it’s a bit easier for the CPL teams to really get up for it and bring the intensity especially at home, when you’re the underdog, that comes naturally, and they brought it to be fair and I don’t think we did for most of the game — so yeah, credit to them. They gave us a hard time today and they played well.

Q. After the goal, I noticed there wasn’t much emotion. It was a game winner in a cup match but you were pretty stoic after the goal. What was your reaction? What was going through your head after you scored that?

There was still time in the game left. So the game wasn’t done then. That’s all. We had to regroup and that’s all. There was time in the game and we needed to finish it the right way.

Q. You mentioned the smart play that Jacob made instead of taking that shot, he had enough presence of mind to play it across the box and find you. Aside from that, just wondering if you can speak to the impact that Jacob had tonight coming off the bench because it seemed like that really gave you guys an extra step in the attack when he came on.

Yeah, Jacob is a direct player. He can really hurt you with his speed and energy, and that’s what we need from him when he comes in or he starts games, and he brought that today.

I’m very happy for him and that he got to play this game, fortunate for his home crowd and family and friends. It was amazing to see. He was a little bit nervous going into this game, and I think the nerves showed in the first couple plays. But he shook it off and got into it and got the confidence. Coming off the injury, I thought he played really well.

So yeah, it was great on him. Like I said on the play, I thought maybe if he didn’t take the touch so wide, he would have been the hero in his hometown. But no, he played a great play and put it across. It was a huge play for us in the end.

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