Led by the imperious hat-trick hero Fede Bernardeschi, whose new blond cornrows left no doubt about the scale of his confidence at present, the Reds were up 3-0 before 20 minutes had passed, while CFM could barely muster the minimum. It left the impression that only one side had gotten the memo about how much this tale of two cities – an antagonism centuries in the making, one which transcends sports — really means.

TFC boss John Herdman again flexed his master motivator chops, asking the native sons on his roster to explain the history and emotions to their colleagues, and did it ever work. Last year’s Wooden Spoon winners are now a real threat.

“When we signed for this club, we took on the responsibility for days like this, and that we would do it for those six, seven lads in the room, we would do it for them today,” Herdman said afterwards. “That was the start and I let Jonathan [Osorio, Toronto’s homegrown captain] finish. He took the room himself and he said what needed to be said. He cares. He cares a lot.

“We asked them to just bring a lot of passion and to bring the discipline around the tactical identity. We knew we had a lot of quality on the pitch but you have to use it, and I thought they did that tonight on many occasions.”


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