Thursday Kickoff: Hassli blast gives Whitecaps tie vs. TFC, United release Owen, and more

Thursday Kickoff: Hassli blast gives Whitecaps tie vs. TFC, United release Owen, and more

MLS- Vancouver Whitecaps

Thursday Kickoff: Hassli blast gives Whitecaps tie vs. TFC, United release Owen, and more

EricHassliCC (Getty)

Eric Hassli didn't start Wednesday night's Canadian Championship Final first leg, but the French striker sure did finish it in style.

Hassli came off the bench to deliver a jaw-dropping equalizer in second-half stoppage time to help the Vancouver Whitecaps salvage a 1-1 draw against Toronto FC at BC Place.

Toronto opened to scoring earlier in the second half on a Ryan Johnson strike that gave the visitors a boost of confidence and control of a match Vancouver had been the better side in during the first half. TFC nearly made it 2-0 only to see Joe Cannon save a wide-open look by TFC's Nick Soolsma.

Hassli, benched in favor of Etienne Barbara, came on mid-way through the second half and gave the Whitecaps hope of turning the championship series around when he sized up a long pass from Alain Rochat and volleyed a rocket of a shot into the top right corner of goal.

The Whitecaps and Toronto FC face off in the second leg of the Canadian Championship Final on Wednesday in Toronto.

Here are some more stories to get your Thursday going.

OWEN RELEASED BY MAN. UNITED

Manchester United has released Michael Owen, leaving the veteran's striker future in doubt.

Owen has endured a tumultuous decade in England, as injuries have kept the former England national team standout from regaining the form that once made him one of the most exciting strikers in the world.

Owen, 32, isn't quite ready to hang up his boots, stating that he wants to keep playing and find a club where he can play more regularly. His past three seasons with Manchester United, Owen has played sparingly.

 "I would like to play another couple of years and play more regular," Owen told Sky Sports. "I'm only 32, looking at the likes of Scholesy and Giggsy, it fills you with confidence that you can play on. I am reasonably young and feel I can still play on. My body still feels good even though I've had a few injuries."

VILLAS-BOAS HEADLINES LIVERPOOL COACHING CANDIDATES

Former Chelsea manager Andres Villas-Boas has emerged as one of the favorites to replace fired Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish.

Villas-Boas, fired earlier in the season by Chelsea, leads a list that includes the likes of Didier Deschamps and Jurgen Klopp. Several Premier League-based managers have also been mentioned as potential candidates, including Swansea's Brendan Rogers.

LIBERTADORES QUARTERFINALS KICK OFF WITH DRAWS

Universidad de Chile scored a vital away goal to earn a 1-1 draw against Libertad in Copa Libertadores quarterfinal first leg action in Paraguay.

In Rio De Janeiro, Vasco de Gama and Corinthians played to a scoreless draw, giving Corinthians the edge heading into the return leg in Sao Paulo.

The quarterfinals continue tonight, with Argentine side Veles Sarsfield playing defending champion Santos, while Brazilian side Fluminense takes on Boca Juniors.

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What do you think of these developments? See Toronto FC winning the Canadian Championships again? Is Hassli's goal the best you've seen by an MLS player this year? Where do you see Owen winding up next season?

Share your thoughts below.

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