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CS Saint-Laurent (0) – Toronto FC (3) Post-match summary

    Toronto F.C

May 8, 2024 – Major League Soccer (MLS)
Toronto FC news report

2024 TELUS Canadian Championship Quarterfinals – First Leg


TOR – Matty Longstaff 50′ (Cassius Mailula)

TOR – Deandre Kerr 59′ (Deybi Flores)

TOR – Federico Bernardeschi 76′


STL – Safwane Mlah 66′ (note)


CS SAINT-LAURENT – Kosta Maniatis; Jefferson Alphonse, Nathan Goulet, Obeng Tabi (Riad Bey 75′); Wesley Wandje (C), Mouhamadou Sylla (Yann Toualy 65′), Oussama Boughanmi (Aylan Khenoussi 84′), Safwane Mlah, Cedrick Adamou; Mamadou Kane (Rickson Aristilde 65′), Loïc Kwemi (Josue Youta 65′)

Substitutes not used: Peter Scuccimarri, Abdoul Aziz Sakande

TORONTO FC – Luka Gavran; Kosi Thompson, Aimé Mabika, Sigurd Rosted (Kevin Long 45′); Kobe Franklin, Matty Longstaff (Derrick Etienne Jr. 57′), Alonso Coello, Nicksoen Gomis (Jesús Batiz 45′); Jonathan Osorio (C) (Deybi Flores 45′), Cassius Mailula (Federico Bernardeschi 65′), Deandre Kerr

Substitutes not used: Sean Johnson, Prince Owusu


Toronto FC played a competitive match against Ligue1 Québec opposition for the first time in club history.

Matty Longstaff has now scored goals in two consecutive games for the first time in his Toronto FC career.

Deandre Kerr scored his first goal of the 2024 season for Toronto FC.

Federico Bernardeschi scored his first direct free kick for TFC.

Cassius Mailula and Deybi Flores registered their first assists for the Reds.

Derrick Etienne Jr. and Jesús Batiz made their first Canadian Championship appearances for TFC.


Q: General thoughts on the performance?

I want to start by saying what an achievement Saint-Laurent is. I thought they were excellent tonight. A hellish atmosphere. I loved it. It felt like a real cup match. I think 4,700 came, 6,000 tickets sold, and this is more media than I get in Toronto. So this is clearly a football city.

Yes, I think Saint-Laurent can be proud tonight. They pushed us, pushed us hard. Obviously I’m happy with the zero, that was one mission. Just a professional performance tonight, no injuries, and yes, we got out of here. Heavy night. Heavy night. Cup match. Everything you expected.

Q: What did you say at halftime?

Be patient. Be patient. Tactically there were a few things. There was a small gap that we opened on the right side. I thought they did a great job against (Kosi) Thompson and the fullback running into Kobe (Franklin). They came after us three times on that side.

We were trying to clear that up and just solidify there, and tactically there were opportunities on that left side that we had seen. Just to roll out the midfielders and create that overload. We knew that if we did more work on the left side, the right side would open up and that’s where we felt we had our biggest threat tonight. It paid off, but at the same time the message was: be calm, be patient. It’s a cup match. They bring everything they have, and you know, you absorb everything they have at the moment and the quality will come through.

Q: Saint Laurent is going to the CPL, what did you think of the team here?

Yes, they deserve something tonight. I think everyone saw that they deserved something from that match. There’s no doubt that a goal, probably two goals, would have made the score a lot closer. I think that little bit of quality on a big occasion is for those games, and I think for us we are looking at that type of team, and after the scouting against Halifax (Wanderers FC), we could see at least three players who are on the correct level. You can see there’s at least three on that team that, you know, if we look at some of our roster, they weren’t far off.

Q: Any shoutouts to those Saint-Laurent players?

The three players, I’m not going to shout them out yet. Wait for their return. Then give them some credit. Just know that we’ll be taking a deeper look at some of these guys coming out of this game.

I’ve said this to the players before. You know, these nights make heroes out of players who were previously unknown, and I think the boys did a good job keeping a clean sheet. I think for the most part at halftime we had a plan for our minutes. We have a tough game against New York (City FC) this weekend, so we were working on player rotation plans. We are working on a big series of games. So our goal was to come out of here with at least a few goals in our pocket. You know, in three, four games, when we’ve played a lot more 90 minutes in a row, two games a week, we can have a little more control over our squad.

I think the changes were already planned halfway through. There was no genius in that.

Q. It’s surreal to be here in this stadium. How did you find this atmosphere?

Yeah, I mean I told the lads, I watched Newport County’s game against Man City in the FA Cup and they were held scoreless, I think 1-0 at Newport. I said to the boys: anything can happen on these nights. A boy can score, and heartbreak, you never know. All we can do is be disciplined and recognize that the clean sheet was very important, and then take our moments.

I thought some of our guys were really into that tonight. I thought (Aimé) Mabika and Deandre Kerr, we knew he was going to get one or two chances, and I thought he was clinical. We arrived here last night and saw the field.

We knew it wouldn’t be a game where you could link an extensive plan to the football. I think it’s a 64-metre field and we came into the wind and the rain, and you’re thinking: it’s a real cup night, boys. Just stay in the fight. Keep fighting. Stay together and we will get through this. Luckily we did.

Q: Underdog teams usually park the bus. Are you happy they (CS Saint-Laurent) didn’t?

No, we expected them to play an open match. I think they had a very deliberate style, and that deliberate style meant they really had to play to their strengths. I mean, the coaching staff did a great job. They knew exactly where their strengths were going to be, and I thought they were brilliant at, as I said, exploiting that right side of ours, just through some clever little tactics, finding rhythm.

You can’t defend yourself against that. Your time has to be good. If they have rehearsed it more than you have rehearsed with them, you will suffer.

I just want to say I thought they did a great job tonight. They were brilliant. They were brilliant against Halifax (Wanderers FC). I thought their individual quality was reflected in the collective fights. They never give up. At the end they probably could have scored one or two to get back into the game.

So I just tip my hat to them. Things will be different in Toronto. It will be very different. When you get on a playing surface, things like that change. But tonight: hats off to them. Great job for their coaching team, and their guys can hold their heads high.

Q. Did you have a chance to see Alphonso Davies’ Champions League goal today?

Yep, cracker. Absolute cracker. I mean, the commentator (Rio) Ferdinand was talking (about Davies) during a job interview in that game. He really raised his hand to take that next step to the biggest club in the world, actually Real Madrid. I really hope he gets that chance.

But to see a Canadian score in the semi-final, what a game.

Question: Who should Canada Soccer appoint as national coach?

Not my problem anymore, guys. I’ve moved on. I wish Mauro (Biello) and everyone else the best. I will have a place in my heart for the Canadian team, but my focus is on Toronto FC. I sing the national anthem as loud as I can and wish them the best. Whoever takes this team next has a tremendously talented group to make big strides on the world stage.

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