Match Preview: 'Caps vs Impact (Take 2)

Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

The Vancouver Whitecaps are set to play arguably their most important match of the season.

"Always a bridesmaid, never a bride". That's been the war cry of the Vancouver Whitecaps for the past 4 FREAKING YEARS in the Canadian Championship. Montreal has won, Toronto FC has won, and the Vancouver Whitecaps have let them do it year after year. One season ago, the Whitecaps looked to be in complete control heading into the final versus Toronto FC. Do I really need to go over this again? Essentially, the Whitecaps lost to a horrible team, and in the process lost the trophy. It was a disgraceful effort, a game that almost made me break my tv, and a stern reminder that in clutch situations, the Vancouver Whitecaps will find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

In any case, it's not entirely fair to condemn this squad before they even take the pitch, and they do deserve credit. The 'Caps have actually competed pretty well recently, and played a tough Montreal team to a draw in the first leg of the Championship. Now they get another crack at their Canadian rivals, and a chance to finally raise the Voyageurs cup.

THE LINEUP

It's been a popular opinion on this site recently, and I completely agree; Camilo should start this match up top in place of Darren Mattocks in the lone striker role. Camilo has looked more comfortable and effective in that role, and after his performance against the Portland Timbers, who could blame him? Head Coach Martin Rennie may be tempted to use Kenny Miller in that role as he finally comes back from injury, but that would be a mistake. It's been a long time since Miller saw the pitch for the Whitecaps, and he should be used in a substitution role. If Rennie desperately wants to get him minutes out of the gate, then Miller should step into Camilo's old spot, wide in the midfield.

MID

Speaking of mid, I don't think any changes are truly necessary. I like Jun-Marques Davidson in the holding mid role, with Nigel Reo-Coker, Russell Teibert and Gershon Koffie pushing play forward. They've been a solid bunch, although Reo-Coker has been head and shoulders above the rest.

DEFENSE

On the backline, Johnny Leveron has served his one match suspension and should be ready to go at centerback. I like Leveron more than Rusin in that role, as you can probably tell from my previous posts. In the most simplistic terms, Leveron looks more comfortable than Rusin, who's a bigger body but is slower on his feet. The rest of the backline should be unchanged.

GOALKEEPING

While Joe Cannon hasn't really done anything to lose his spot per se, Brad Knighton should get the start tonight. He's started all the games in the tournament and done well, so why stop now? Knighton has definitely earned the right to try and help his team win the match tonight, and if he does, he should be able to run with the spot. For more of my Brad Knighton butt kissing, you can check this article out.

MONTREAL HAS THE EDGE

If this match ends in a draw, the Montreal Impact will win the Voyageurs cup, because the tournament uses away goals for a tiebreaker. That means the Whitecaps must score and win, which must put just a little bit of pressure for the home squad. The silver lining? It means the Whitecaps control their own destiny, and will be entirely judged on what they do tonight. For those that don't remember (and I'm sure you all do), the Whitecaps had one hand on the trophy in 2009, until Toronto FC swiped it due to goal differential. Tonight, all the 'Caps need to do is win; it's that simple.

FINAL THOUGHT...

How much slack does Martin Rennie have on his leash right now? If the 'Caps win tonight, it sure makes a more convincing case to keep him around as a coach. If they lose, it's just another black mark on his resume.

KIckoff is at 7pm.

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