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CS Saint-Laurent (0) - Toronto FC (3) Postgame Summary

May 8, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Toronto FC News Release

2024 TELUS Canadian Championship Quarter-Final - First Leg


TOR - Matty Longstaff 50' (Cassius Mailula)

TOR - Deandre Kerr 59' (Deybi Flores)

TOR - Federico Bernardeschi 76'


STL - Safwane Mlah 66' (caution)


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 matches 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 goal 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: Overall thoughts on the performance?

I want to start by saying what a performance by Saint-Laurent. I thought they were outstanding tonight. Hell of an atmosphere. Loved it. It felt like a proper cup match. I think 4,700 turned out, 6,000 tickets sold, and this is more media than I get in Toronto. So this obviously is a football city.

Yeah, I think Saint-Laurent ought to be proud tonight. They pushed us, pushed us hard. Obviously for me what I'm happy about is the clean sheet, that was one mission. Tonight, just a professional performance, no injuries, and yeah, we got out of here. Tough night. Tough night. Cup match. Everything you expected it to be.

Q: What did you say at half-time?

Just be patient. Be patient. There were a few things tactically. There was a bit of a gap we were opening on that right-hand side. I thought they did a hell of a job posting up against [Kosi] Thompson and the wing-back running off Kobe [Franklin]. They got behind us three times on that side.

We tried to clean that up and just solidify there, and then tactically, there was opportunities on that left side that we had seen. Just to roll out the midfielders and create that overload. We knew if we did more work on the left, the right would open up and that's where we felt we had our biggest threat tonight. It sort of paid off but at the same time, the message was just be calm, be patient. It's a cup game. They are bringing everything they have got, and you know, you absorb everything they have got at the moment and quality will come through.

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

Yeah, they deserve something tonight. I think everyone has seen, they deserved something out of that game. There's no doubt that a goal, two goals probably, the scoreline could have been a lot closer. I think just that little bit of quality on a big occasion for those plays, and I think for us, we look at that type of team, and after doing the scouting against Halifax [Wanderers FC], we could see at least three players that are right at the level. You can see, there's at least three in that team that, you know, when we look at some of our roster, they were not far away.

Q: Any shoutouts to those Saint-Laurent players?

The three players, I won't shout them out yet. Wait for their return. Give them some credit after that. Just know that we will be having a deeper look at some of these guys coming out of this game.

I said this to the players before. You know, these nights sort of make heroes of players that were previously unknown, and I think keeping a clean sheet, the lads did well. I think largely at half-time, we had a plan on our minutes. We have a tough match against New York [City FC] on the weekend, so we were on rotation plans for players. We're on a big run of games. So our goal was to get out of this with at least a couple of goals in the bag. You know, in three, four games, when we've had a lot more 90 minutes, back-to-back games, two games a week, we can be in a bit more control with our selection.

At half-time, I think the changes were already planned. There was no genius in that.

Q. To be here in this stadium is surreal, how did you find this atmosphere?

Yeah, I mean, I was telling the lads, I watched the Newport County game versus Man City in the FA Cup and they were held scoreless, I think 1-0 at Newport. I said to the lads, anything can happen on these nights. A lad can score, and heartbreak, you just never know. All we can do is be disciplined and recognize the clean sheet was really important and then take our moments.

I thought a couple of our lads were really on the ball tonight with that. I thought [Aimé ] Mabika and Deandre Kerr, we knew he would get one or two chances, and I thought he was clinical. We got here last night, we seen the pitch.

We knew it wasn't going to be a game you were going to be able to put an expansive plan to football. I think it's a 64-metre pitch and we turned up in the wind and the rain, and you're like, it's a proper cup night, lads. Just stay in the fight. Keep fighting. Stick together and we'll get through. Thankfully we did.

Q: Underdog teams usually park the bus. Are you pleased they [CS Saint-Laurent] didn't do that?

No, we expected them to have an open game. I think they had a very deliberate style, and that deliberate style involved really utilizing their strengths. I mean, the coaching staff did a great job. They knew exactly where their strengths would be, and I thought they were brilliant at, like I say, exploiting that right-hand side of ours just through some clever little tactics, that found rhythm.

You can't defend against that. Your time's got to be right. If they have rehearsed it more than you've rehearsed at them, you're going to suffer.

I'd just like 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 came through in the collective fights. They never give up. Right at the end, they probably could have scored, you know, one or two to get back into the game.

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

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

Yeah, cracker. Absolute cracker. I mean, the commentator [Rio] Ferdinand was talking [about Davies being] on a job interview in that game. He really did put his hand up to take that next step to just the biggest club in the world, really, Real Madrid. I really hope he gets that opportunity.

But to see a Canadian score in the semifinal, what a play.

Q: Who should Canada Soccer name as the national team coach?

Not my problem anymore, lads. I've moved on. I wish Mauro [Biello] and everyone else the best. I'll have a place in my heart for the Canadian team but my focus is Toronto FC. I'll sing the anthem as loud as I can and wish them well. Whoever takes this team next has a wonderful talented group to make big steps on the world stage.

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