Endoh lifts Toronto FC past Ottawa Fury

TORONTO — Tsubasa Endoh scored a goal and helped create another in a two-minute spurt late in the first half and Toronto FC went on to defeat the Ottawa Fury 4-0 Wednesday, advancing 5-2 on aggregate to the Canadian championship final.

Substitutes Marky Delgado and Sebastian Giovinco added insurance goals in the 80th and 85th minutes.

Ottawa, which plays in the second-tier USL, beat a weaker Toronto lineup 2-1 in the first leg last week at TD Place Stadium.

Five-time champion Toronto will play three-time winner Montreal for the Voyageurs Cup in the two-legged final June 21 and 27. The Impact dispatched the Vancouver Whitecaps 5-4 on aggregate after a 4-2 victory Tuesday at Saputo Stadium.

Wednesday’s game turned after Toronto striker Tosaint Ricketts was forced off in the 34th minute with hamstring tightness. Instead of bringing on a forward, coach Greg Vanney introduced wingback Steven Beitashour and pushed Endoh up the field.

It paid almost immediate dividends as the 23-year-old Japanese forward, released from defensive duties, began to attack before 15,175 on a pleasant evening at BMO Field.

His curling shot was just wide in the 38th minute. Then, after taking a nice pass from Jordan Hamilton and driving to the goal-line, Endoh raked the ball over to the other side of the goal towards teammate Justin Morrow. The ball deflected in off Ottawa defender Eddie Edward for an own goal in the 41st minute.

A minute later, Endoh made a fine run to goal, splitting the defence. Spanish playmaker Victor Vazquez spotted him and laid on a perfect cross for Endoh to head past Callum Irving.

Ottawa coach Paul Dalglish started with a 4-3-2-1 formation, providing plenty of bodies to blunt the Toronto attack. And for the first 30 minute, it was hard to tell which was the MLS team.

Normal service resumed late in the half thanks to Endoh.

Giovinco, out since May 13 with a quad strain, came in at the start of the second half. He made an instant impact, with his runs discombobulating the Ottawa defence.

There was more Endoh in the 48th minute but his tap-in somehow squibbed high and came off the crossbar.

In need of goals, Ottawa switched to a more attacking formation. But it was Toronto that came on in waves.

Delgado’s tap-in from a Morrow cross, after a fine Giovinco pass, made it 3-0 in the dying minutes. Then Vazquez sliced open the Ottawa defence with a through ball that Giovinco dispatched into the goal.

Toronto, which matched its club-record eight-game unbeaten streak with a 5-0 demolition of Columbus last Friday, tops the MLS standings at 8-1-5.

Ottawa, which has won three straight including the first leg against Toronto, stands eighth in the USL Eastern Conference at 3-3-3.

It marked the second year in a row Ottawa has been unable to complete an MLS upset. The Fury took a 2-0 lead over the Whitecaps at the same stage of the competition last year, before losing the second leg 3-0 in Vancouver.

A week ago in Ottawa, Vanney used just one regular starter (Morrow). The starting 11 had a combined 840 MLS regular-season games between but proved to be an awkward mix.

Vanney fielded five starters this time, including Spanish playmaker Vazquez.

The Fury had the best early chances with Sito Seoane stopped by Clint Irwin in the 19th minute after a flick on by big targetman Tucker Hume. And the home side needed a desperate slide from Morrow to deflect a Seoane shot over the bar in the 30th minute.

Toronto’s first good chance was an Eriq Zavaleta header that went over the bar on a 33rd-minute corner.

Toronto was without captain Michael Bradley and striker Jozy Altidore, who are away with the U.S. national team. Wingback Raheem Edwards was suspended after being sent off. Defender Nick Hagglund (knee) is a longterm injury casualty.

Toronto won the Canadian championship last year for the fifth time. As such, it thought it had secured entry to the CONCACAF Champions League. But due to a change in tournament format, it will have to win this year’s Canadian championship or, if it doesn’t, defeat the winner in a one-game playoff to join the CONCACAF club competition.


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