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This game shouldn't be happening. But it is.
Most people with any sense of justice will agree that, if this was a fair world, the Vancouver Whitecaps would be Canadian champions already. The rest will say that, in a fair world, the Whitecaps should have a 2-1 lead on aggregate with time running out and one hand on the Cup. Either way, only a died-in-the-wool Toronto FC partisan could pretend that what's happening today is right: a replay, starting from square one, with Toronto FC's sins erased as though they never happened while the Whitecaps still have to overcome an away goal disadvantage.
Life isn't fair. Soccer is especially unfair, as we Whitecaps fans have learned. I'll consider the Whitecaps champions win or lose but posterity will disagree. The moral victor doesn't get to go to the CONCACAF Champions League and doesn't get to lift a trophy. A bit of lightning around the stadium, a bit of rain given no attention by the cynical Toronto ground staff, and here we are.
The great irony, of course, is that the weather men say there's a 40% chance of thunderstorms in Toronto this morning during the game. I suspect that if the rain starts coming down while Toronto holds a 1-0 lead we'll see a lot more of an effort to keep the pitch playable. But I'm cynical like that.
We'll see some fight from the Whitecaps, that I know. The last game (well, "game") was a lifetime (and a coach) in their past, but these guys are professionals. They might not hold a grudge from the canceled game but they know what's at stake. Jay DeMerit is said to be ready to go for the Whitecaps, a profound relief for those of us knocked over by the Michael Boxall - Greg Janicki show on Wednesday. The starters will be back in the lineups for both teams: Toronto rested a handful of guys, Vancouver rested eleven. Surely advantage to the Whitecaps.
On the other hand, the Whitecaps are terrible. This isn't the team of the first two legs. Whatever Tom Soehn is trying to teach them, I'll be charitable and say it "hasn't taken hold yet". They're erratic, they're ineffective. They're lucky to have as many points as they do. Toronto FC is poor but they're not doormats, unless they're playing the Philadelphia Union.
Aside from their grounds crew Toronto's home field advantage should be less than usual. The Whitecaps have been in town most of the week and are over their jet lag. Attendance at BMO Field could amount to "friends and family" thanks to weather, an early start time, and Roy Halladay's Toronto homecoming grabbing the attention of the prawn sandwich brigade. Hopefully that gives Vancouver more of a chance. Hopefully.
I'm not feeling confident. The series is 1-1 on aggregate with Toronto holding an away goal. I'm not convinced Vancouver can turn that around. I sure hope so.