Mega Toronto Sports Day leaves the city with smiles and woes
Wednesday night might have been the most stressful night for Toronto sports fans as the Raptors, Leafs, and Toronto FC were all playing crucial games.
— The Tenors (@TenorsMusic) April 25, 2018
Raptors were playing Game 5 of their best-of-seven series against the Washington Wizards, the Toronto Maple Leafs were in the “win or go home” Game 7 against the Boston Bruins, and Toronto FC were playing in their Champions League CONCACAF Final against Mexico’s Chivas Guadalajara FC.
A big night in Maple Leaf Square and an even bigger tailgate.
A 3-game viewing party for the world’s greatest city.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 25, 2018
Raptors get it done at home
The Raptors returned to Toronto with the best-of-seven series all tied up, and the Wizards made it known that they had the momentum heading back to Toronto. Wizards guard John Wall began taunting the Raptors while they were holding a 15-point lead in Game 4.
Toronto stole Washington’s momentum early as the two all-star guards Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for 30 points at the half. The Raptors closed off Game 5 with an 11-2 run for the win.
Toronto musician and Raptors Ambassador, Drake, poked some fun at the Wizards guard by talking trash as his side dominated Washington.
With the series 3-2 the Raptors hope to close out the series Friday night in a rowdy Capital One Arena in Washington.
“We just have to go there and play our game,” Lowry said. “Game three and four we turned the ball over too much.
“On the road, the fans are a little bit different, environments a little different, but as a collective group we have to stick together and stay focused to the game plan.”
Leafs did it again
Leafs had some deja vu as the team blew a third period lead against the Boston Bruins in a Game 7 for the second time in five years. The Leafs entered the third and final period with a 4-3 lead, and the game ended 7-4 Boston.
Boston punished the Leafs at the start of the third period as Toronto began playing protective hockey and Bruins took advantage. As the Bruins began pressing, the Leafs net defense gave way. A slap shot from Bruins defense-man Tory Krug tied the game 3-3, and the goal seemingly to spook the Leafs. The Bruins sensed the desperation in the Leafs and become increasingly aggressive. The Bruins used their physicality to squeeze three more goals past Leafs goalie Fredrick Andersen.
“The next one hurt us, we didn’t respond, it was devastation instead of keep playing and executing in the third period,” Leafs Coach Mike Babcock said to the media after the loss.
The 2018 Leafs meltdown shared many similarities to the Leafs collapse in 2013. Five years ago, Toronto had a 4-1 lead blown in the 3rd period; this time around it was a 4-3 lead. Nonetheless, this Maple Leafs cohort is still young and the future continues to look bright for the Leafs.
“These are the moments that we don’t want to be in for the future got to make the most of it,” 20 year-old Leafs forward Auston Matthews said to the media. “We put us in a good position and then they scored a couple, the crowd gets buzzing, and then there’s more goals in the back of out neck.”
Penalty shootout gets the better of Toronto FC once again
After losing the first match, Toronto FC head into Mexico with a somewhat complicated situation.
The CONCAFF Final is a two game series decided by the aggregate score of both games. A game is played in each teams’ stadium. If the game is tied, the tie-breaker is given to the team that scored the most goals in the other team’s arena. If they scored the same amount of goals the game is sent to a penalty shootout.
Chivas stole the game in Toronto 2-1 so the only way Toronto could win the final was by scoring two or more goals in Mexico.
That’s exactly what they did. Toronto FC scored a pair, but Chivas also scored an early stunner which gave an aggregate score of 3-3.
Toronto FC and Chivas both had two away goals leading to a penalty shootout
Sadly, Toronto FC were in an early hole as second shooter Jonathan Osorio hit the post, giving Chivas the lead. The Mexico side continued to bolt shots past Toronto keeper Alex Bono.
The fourth Toronto FC shooter was captain Michael Bradley, who had to score to keep them alive. Captain Bradley shot the ball directly into the crowd leaving Toronto FC fans disappointed with yet another championship penalty shootout loss.
— Across the Pond (@ATPradio) April 26, 2018
Toronto FC lost the MLS Cup Final in the penalty shootout two seasons ago.
“In the end it didn’t go our way, that hurts, when we compete at the highest level, then you understand that’s part of the deal sometimes,” Bradley said to the press following the loss.
“I think the success from the last few years speaks for itself, and losses like today will continue to push us on.”