Semi-pro CS Saint-Laurent won Toronto FC's respect in the first leg of their Canadian Championship quarterfinal despite the 3-0 score in the MLS club's favour.

And Toronto coach John Herdman expects the Ligue1 Quebec champion to "play with no fear" Tuesday in the return game at BMO Field.

"They've experienced it once before. They know we're only human and they've seen that in the first leg," said Herdman. "So I imagine they'll come in with some confidence and, I guess, (with) that pressure off."

"They'll genuinely believe if they score one, they can score two," he added. "That's the dream that I know I would be trying to create with my players. I expect them to come in excited, full of confidence and with no real weight of expectations which maybe they had in that first game."

The challenges have come on and off the field, with plenty of media attention on Saint-Laurent during a cup run that started May 2 with an upset penalty shootout win over the CPL's Halifax Wanderers.

"It's been a lot and very fast, from playing Halifax to playing Toronto and playing Toronto a second time, it's been 2 1/2 weeks. It feels like a year," said Saint-Laurent coach Nick Razzaghi.

But he says his team's focus is simple.

"Right now we're just trying to win (Tuesday's) game."

Also Tuesday in cup play, the Vancouver Whitecaps take a 2-1 lead into their rematch with Cavalry FC at B.C. Place Stadium.

On Wednesday, it's Forge FC at CF Montreal (first leg was 1-1) and Atletico Ottawa at Pacific FC (0-0) in the other two quarterfinals.

The Toronto-Saint-Laurent winner will play either Montreal or Forge in the two-legged semifinal.

Saint-Laurent can perhaps feel hard done by the opening leg, which was scoreless for the first 50 minutes.

Matty Longstaff's opening goal came through a mass of bodies, with goalkeeper Kosta Maniatis screened. The second, by Deandre Kerr, came on a counter-attack after Saint-Laurent was denied a penalty for an Aime Mabika handball in the Toronto penalty box. The third was a Federico Bernardeschi free kick that caught Maniatis out of position organizing his team's defensive wall.

"I thought it was a proper cup tie," said Herdman. "It was a nervy one for us, that's for sure."

He expects Saint-Laurent, whose roster includes players with international futsal experience, to shine on the big pitch at BMO Field.

"It's going to be a real good opportunity for some of these players to put their hand up for the Canadian Premier League and maybe even to be knocking on MLS Next Pro knocking on MLS doors here."

Toronto blanked League 1 Ontario's Simcoe County Rovers 5-0 in the preliminary round.

Toronto's injured list includes captain Jonathan Osorio, Kevin Long, Richie Laryea, Shane O'Neill and Brandon Servania. Herdman hopes to have Osorio and Long back on the weekend against FC Cincinnati.

Laryea, a designated player who has not seen action since hamstring surgery following the season opener, could also dress Saturday, Herdman revealed.

"He is ahead of schedule," said Herdman, adding the May 29 game at Philadelphia might be a more realistic return for the dangerous fullback/wingback.

But with Bernardeschi suspended for Saturday's league game against FC Cincinnati for yellow card accumulation, the Italian star could play a bigger role Tuesday.

And why not? The former Juventus man has seven goals in his last four outings including a hat trick in Saturday's 5-1 win over CF Montreal. He was named the top player of Matchday 15 for the performance.

Bernardeschi came off the bench to score against Saint-Laurent in the first leg.

Fellow Italian Lorenzo Insigne could also see action after making his first start on the weekend following two cameos off the bench in the wake of an eight-game injury absence.

The cup date represents TFC's ninth game in 31 days, with league outings against Cincinnati and Philadelphia still to come in what Herdman calls "May madness."

Herdman gave the team the day off Sunday because of the crowded schedule, and perhaps as a reward for the lopsided weekend win.

Herdman also took the day off, spending it with his wife and daughter who were in town from the family's B.C. home.

It was a busman's holiday, however, as they watched Herdman's beloved Newcastle United close out its English Premier League season with a 4-2 win at Brentford and son Jay Herdman in action for Whitecaps FC in a 3-2 loss at the Colorado Rapids 2 in MLS Next Pro play.

Saint-Laurent has gone 1-1-0 in league play since the opening leg of the quarterfinal, losing 3-0 to Ottawa South United before blanking AS Laval 7-0 on Friday.

The Canadian Championship winner hoists the Voyageurs Cup and qualifies for the CONCACAF Champions Cup, the elite men's club competition in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The Whitecaps have won the Canadian cup the last two years.