Final Score: Toronto FC 4-0 York United Goalscorers: Osorio 34', Achara 41', Soteldo 84' (PK), Okello 89' 2021 Canadian Championship Quarterfinal

Match in a minute or less

In a rain-soaked derby match at BMO Field, Toronto FC sailed through to the semifinals of the 2021 Canadian Championship as they saw off local foes York United by a decisive 4-0 scoreline. Though both sides traded chances, especially in the first half, TFC managed to get ahead before halftime with a pair of goals assisted by Jacob Shaffelburg. The home side then put the contest out of sight for York in the second half, as Yeferson Soteldo scored from the penalty spot and Noble Okello scored at the very end of the 90 to see things out after a hard-fought contest.

Three Observations

Both sides quick in transition, York undone by incisive runs from TFC

In the first half, both sides' best opportunities seemed to come in transition, with the wet conditions causing the ball to move very quickly -- either for rapid forward attacks, or for missed passes that offered a chance to counter. York had their fair share of opportunities in that sense, although TFC's left side of Chris Mavinga and Richie Laryea did well to cut off through balls and prevent Lowell Wright from seeing much of the ball. Going the other way, York similarly managed to handle most of TFC's more direct attacks, with Dominick Zator cutting things off in the air and right-back Chrisnovic N'sa seemingly getting on the end of every through ball and making four brave tackles in the first frame. However, where Toronto finally found joy was when they managed to get players free in the box with cutting off-ball runs. Both first-half goals had similar makeups: TFC slowed things down for a brief moment in transition, before playing quickly to Jacob Shaffelburg on the left side. The first goal came from Shaffelburg himself running quickly in behind N'sa to get in position to make the cross, and the second came from Ifunayachi Achara driving from the top of the box to get on the end of Shaffelburg's pass. On both occasions, the York defenders had begun to set themselves defensively, and didn't have time to recover to find their marks when TFC picked the pace back up. York manager Jimmy Brennan conceded postmatch that he wasn't pleased with either goal, particularly seeing Jonathan Osorio so open in the box. The match in general slowed down coming out of halftime, and once York made their final push in the last 10 minutes TFC managed to pick a few desperate passes off to strike in transition again.

Key attackers isolated at times for York, more involved later

Defensively, the thing Toronto FC did best in this game was to neutralize the threat posed by York's front three of Michael Petrasso, Lowell Wright, and Max Ferrari. In the first half especially, the Nine Stripes couldn't seem to find Wright or Ferrari with their long balls or cutbacks; Wright had just 11 touches in the opening 45, and Ferrari just 19, despite both players working hard to press TFC when out of possession. Wright was a little more involved in the second frame, and coach Jimmy Brennan mentioned postmatch that he did feel the young striker had done well in the later stages, particularly when York moved to a slightly different formation as Petrasso took a more central role and Wright seemed to drop a little deeper. Still, York struggled to get the best out of their best attacking players; Ferrari, in particular, never really got a chance to flash his pace and skill in direct play, as TFC managed to isolate him from the rest of the side and effectively mark him out of the game for long stretches. It's rare that Ferrari is substituted out of a match, but the youngster left in the 77th minute on what seemed not to be his night. York's best attacking moves were typically spawned by the fullbacks Abzi and N'sa, who were quick to either play long balls themselves or run into the acres of wide space left behind TFC's midfielders. However, they could rarely find an outlet for a cutback pass or cross, and so York couldn't quite capitalize on those opportunities.

York bring intensity to individual battles

It was abundantly clear from minute one of this game that it was to be a true cup tie, with both sides very unwilling to give much up in a game with fine margins. York played with a commendable tenacity; in defence, players like N'sa, Roger Thompson, and Isaiah Johnston worked tirelessly to track down stretched passes and put pressure on any TFC players spending too much time on the ball. As a result, the Nine Stripes did have the better of the duels statistic, winning almost 60% in the first half -- although TFC caught up a little in the second frame as fatigue began to set in for some of the York players. Still, even in the latter stages, the visitors were very tenacious in closing TFC down quickly. Certainly, York did not try to sit back in this game -- even Toronto coach Javier Perez complimented them for that, saying postmatch that the Nine Stripes had "remained faithful to their style" and commending that a passive approach is "against their DNA." Of course, that aggression did leave York exposed a couple of times, but they were generally good enough at cleaning things up centrally to make the pressing worthwhile. Indeed, the 4-0 scoreline feels, in some ways, unrepresentative of York's performance, particularly considering the two later goals (the penalty and Okello's counter-attack) came with York pushing very high up the pitch in search of a goal of their own. Postmatch, Jimmy Brennan suggested that he felt his side was deserving of a better fate than the 4-0 scoreline, and he was proud of his young players' efforts in working to win as many battles as possible even when the score became lopsided. Player of the Match

Jacob Shaffelburg, Toronto FC Hard not to pick the young Canadian winger, who created two of TFC's goals in short succession in the first half with a pair of gorgeous crosses. He was locked in a thrilling battle with York's Chrisnovic N'sa all night, and he managed to capitalize on the occasions he got free.

What’s next?

Toronto FC will move on to the semifinal of this year's Canadian Championship, where they will play the Pacific FC. Back in CPL action, York will return home to take on Valour FC this Sunday, September 26 at York Lions Stadium (2 pm ET). Watch all matches live on OneSoccer.

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