Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC, Amway Canadian Championship, second leg of final
Date and Location
Wednesday, May 23 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT, Toronto’s BMO Field
The game will air live on Sportsnet ONE
Setting the scene
Toronto and Vancouver share a common goal of winning the Canadian championship, but are motivated by different factors.
TFC has stumbled badly out of the gate, losing their first nine matches of the MLS campaign to set a new record for the worst-ever start to a season.
Following the Reds’ latest setback, a 3-1 loss to DC United on Saturday, forward Danny Koevermans sounded off by referring to TFC as “the worst club in the world.”
The Dutch forward stood by those comments after the team’s final practice on Tuesday, but that didn’t go over to well with teammates Adrian Cann and Milos Kocic and coach Aron Winter.
“I think actions speak louder than words. If you’re going to say something like that, do something about. I’m not taking a slap at Danny; I’m just saying for me, if I’m going to make a comment like that, I’m going to pull my socks up and try to fix it,” Cann said.
But the reality is that Toronto could be out of the playoff picture before summer even starts, which means the Canadian Championship represents the last chance for the Reds to salvage something positive from 2012.
“To make something out of this season we have to win (Wednesday),” Kovermans bluntly said.
Vancouver, on the other hand, comes into this match with a bit of momentum as they sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with a 5-3-3 record.
Although it is the better team on paper, Vancouver is wary of a Toronto side that has had its number in this competition.
“Their run in the cups have been fantastic. … We’re under no illusions that we’re in for a tough game tomorrow,” captain Jay DeMerit said.
The Whitecaps have never won this competition, and having established themselves as the best Canadian team in MLS this season, the next step is to find end their Canadian championship drought.
“It’s only the second year of the Whitecaps in Major League Soccer so it’s a big opportunity to win something. We’re focused on improving all the time and getting better, and winning trophies always helps you build that winning mentality. So it would be a great thing for us to achieve,” coach Martin Rennie stated.
The teams battled to a 1-1 draw in Vancouver last week, which means TFC can repeat as champion with a win or a 0-0 draw. The Whitecaps need a victory or a draw higher than 1-1 to win the series.
News and notes
Toronto will be missing defender Miguel Aceval (hamstring) through injury, but midfielder Torsten Frings (shoulder) will be available after sitting out on weekend against DC United… Striker Atiba Harris (knee) is out for Vancouver… Toronto is the three-time defending Canadian champion… The Reds are unbeaten in their last 12 games in this competition (seven wins and five draws)… Wednesday’s match will be the 12th all-time meeting between the Whitecaps and TFC. The series is evenly split with three wins and three losses apiece, and five draws… The Whitecaps have never won this tournament, and have finished runners-up to TFC the past three years… Vancouver has not won at BMO Field since July 1, 2008… Following Wednesday’s match, TFC and the Whitecaps will meet again in MLS action at BMO Field on July 11… The winner of this series automatically qualifies for the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League…
Player to watch for Toronto
Danny Koevermans: After stating TFC was the worst team in the world, all eyes will be on the big Dutchman to see, as teammate Adrian Cann said, if he’ll “do something about it.”
Player to watch for Vancouver
Eric Hassli: After scoring an incredible volley in injury time against the Reds last week, it’ll be interesting to see what the Frenchman does for an encore.
Joe Cannon vs. Milos Kocic: Both teams have leaked goals and looked less than sturdy in defence lately. Chances are both goalkeepers will have to be on their toes and asked to bail out their teammates with a save at some point during the match.
The Toronto perspective
“To make something out of this season we have to win (Wednesday).” — forward Danny Koevermans.
The Vancouver perspective
“(TFC’s) run in the cups have been fantastic. They showed last week that when it comes to cup time, they perform very well. We’re under no illusions that we’re in for a tough game.” — captain Jay DeMerit.
Toronto returns to MLS action on Saturday when it hosts the Philadelphia Union. Vancouver visits the Portland Timbers on the same day.