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Simcoe County Rovers

Toronto FC Hosts Underdogs Simcoe County Rovers FC In Canadian Championship

By on April 24, 2024 0 760 Views

Toronto FC’s Canadian Championship journey begins at home at BMO Field as they host the reigning League1 Ontario playoff champions in Simcoe County Rovers FC.

The Barrie, Ontario-based semi-professional side will make its journey down Highway 400 to BMO Field accompanied with over 2,000 fans expected to make the trip as the underdog side squares up against the eight-time Voyageur’s cup winners at BMO.

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Founded in 2021, the Simcoe County Rovers ownership group includes former Canada captains Julian de Guzman and Atiba Hutchinson, along with current Canadian internationals like Janine Beckie, Doneil Henry, and Cyle Larin. The team is making its first appearance in the Canadian championship just two seasons in existence.

Simcoe Head Coach Zico, who was the assistant to Jason Beckford during the club’s playoff-winning series last year, now enters his first match as the team lead. He’s banking on making history tonight, as no League1 Canada club has ever defeated an MLS side in cup play.

League1 Ontario Simcoe County Rovers
The Rovers qualified for the tournament be winning the 2023 L1O playoffs. (Photo Credit: Martin Bazyl / League1 Ontario)

While Toronto FC head coach John Herdman mentioned to the media that ‘winning the cup is on the agenda for this group of players’, the TFC boss is expected to rotate players as they come off a Saturday 1-0 win over visiting side New England and will be heading down to sunny Orlando for a MLS match on Saturday.

The Reds exited the Canadian Championship last year in the quarterfinal after they lost 2-1 to rivals CF Montreal.

Toronto FC will be without the injured bunch of Lorenzo Insigne, Richie Laryea, Shane O’Neill, Brandon Servania, and Deandre Kerr. With that in mind, Herdman will be playing with a roster change with players who haven’t played as much this season getting the most minutes on the field in this matchup.

Toronto FC John Herdman
Photo Credit: John Jacques

Toronto FC has also signed Toronto FC II midfielder Andrei Dumitru and forward Jesus Batiz to MLS short-term agreements ahead of tonight’s Canadian Championship match against League1 Ontario club Simcoe County Rovers FC.

The club also announced the recent signing of winger Derrick Etienne Jr. in a trade with Atlanta United in exchange for $200,000 in 2025 general allocation money. As the trade states, Atlanta could also achieve an additional conditional $175,000 GAM if certain conditions are met.

“You either look at that as a curse or an opportunity, and it’s probably a little bit of both. For us it’s about advancing to the next round,” added Coach Herdman.

The Reds’ matchup against League1 Ontario side will be a test to the teams overall demeanor as they look to put their best put forward amidst a busy week of games. They’ll enter as heavy favourites, but can’t get complacent – after all, last year saw a different underdog Rovers side – League1 BC’s TSS Rovers – beat professional opposition in the opening round.

Fans will be able to watch tonight’s Canadian Championship match on OneSoccer, fuboTV, or Telus Optik Channel 980 at 7:30PM EST.

Header Image Photo Courtesy: Simcoe County Rovers

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