MEXICO CITY — Canadian Jonathan Osorio scored early and Toronto FC held on for a 1-1 draw with Club America on Tuesday night to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League final.
Toronto FC won the two-leg semifinal by an aggregate score of 4-2 after a 3-1 win at BMO Field last week.
It’s TFC’s first-ever appearance in a Champions League final. They will face Chivas of Guadalajara, Mexico, for the CONCACAF club title.
Chivas won its semifinal earlier Tuesday night, playing to a 0-0 tie at the New York Red Bulls for a 1-0 aggregate victory.
Toronto FC put out the same starting lineup from last week’s 3-1 win, but substitutes Victor Vazquez, Chris Mavinga and Justin Morrow were unavailable.
Missing the play-making Vazquez became an issue early as superstar striker Jozy Altidore went down in the seventh minute with an apparent ankle injury. He was replaced by Canadian Tosaint Ricketts.
Osorio scored an invaluable away goal in the 11th minute, taking a pass from Ricketts just before the penalty box and slotting the ball neatly into the net for a 1-0 lead. It was Osorio’s third goal of the Champions League tournament.
Toronto defender Eriq Zavaleta seemingly scored an own goal in the 20th minute, tying the game 1-1, but the assistant referee raised his flag for an offside call after the near score. Boos from the thousands of fans in attendance at L’Estadie Azteca rained down on the pitch after the goal was called back.
TFC goalkeeper Alex Bono made an impressive save in the 28th minute, getting a single hand on a sharp standing header from Club America midfielder Alex Ibarra, deflecting the ball wide of the net.
Bono came up big again five minutes later, throwing his hands up for a close-quarters save on Bruno Valdez, catching his own rebound to quiet Club America’s offence.
The Toronto FC keeper stepped up again in the 63rd minute, jumping to get a glove on the ball and tip a well-placed strike from Alejandro Diaz over the crossbar.
Bono charged forward to put his body on a cross in the 77th minute, getting to the ball before a hard-charging Club America forward. The critical save killed previous seconds off the clock as Toronto FC held tight to its lead.
As the game wore on Toronto captain Michael Bradley sank further and further back, helping to shore up TFC’s defence as much as he could. His presence made a difference in the 80th minute when he stopped a potential breakaway from Diaz.
America had a free kick right on the edge of the penalty area in the 84th minute, with goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin coming up to take the shot so his teammates to load up the box. His shot was blocked by Toronto FC’s wall, defusing the threat.
Andres Uribe finally tied it up for Club America in the second minute of injury time on a penalty kick. It was far too little too late, however, and the referees blew the final whistle shortly after.