It was quite possibly the most satisfying loss the Vancouver Whitecaps have ever encountered the last time these two Canadian rivals butted beaver tails. Yes, they lost the match against Toronto FC by a final score of 2-1, but that wasn't the point! The young 'Caps went all top gun on the star-studded TFC lineup, playing the role of the plucky young pilots with nothing to lose. (Does that mean Teibert is goose?) With a median age of 22, the 'Caps held their own, and even drew some blood of their own when Kekuta Manneh scored late in the contest to make it all interesting.
Now, with home field at their backs and a promised mix of veteran and youth in their starting 11, the Whitecaps are hoping to exorcise some Amway demons at the second leg of the Canadian semi-final Wednesday night. Carl Robinson has confirmed that youth will indeed play a part in this match; the young (17 yrs) Marco Carducci will get another shot in net, while Russell Teibert will play, and will don the captain's armband. It could actually be more youth than veteran, as Robinson hasn't been committal as to how many changes he will make from that lineup.
Last ACC Match: Whitecaps at TFC
The Whitecaps youth was good, but not good enough as TFC used goals from Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley to walk away with a 2-1 win. Despite the 'Caps strong showing, the two biggest stars on TFC (and wealthiest: $6.5 mil for Bradley, $6.18 mil for Defoe) did manage to get on the scoresheet, and if the Whitecaps are to trot out a young lineup again, nerves and shell-shock will not be a fall back answer now that they have a full match under their feet. Would a young lineup be underdogs? Unquestionably, you're talking about two elite players they have to face. However, if Robinson puts them on the pitch, it means they have to be expected to produce. Welcome to MLS.
Should Carducci get the nod?
David Ousted is coming off a nice, albeit not overly flashy outing versus the Crew in which he recorded a clean sheet, so some might want to ride the hot hand. However, the teenager didn't look too bad in his first go-around against TFC, so why not give the kid another chance to build his confidence against a team he is somewhat familiar with? Ousted gets a little bit of rest, and the Whitecaps get to develop a young player that has shown some real flashes of brilliance.
But some veterans have to play, right?
You would hope so. While I really enjoyed watching the youngins' play, I'd like to see some of the Whitecaps' top earners out on the pitch helping the 'Caps to victory. How badly does Pedro Morales need rest at this point? It's still early in the season and the 'Caps have this weekend off, but at the end of the day, it's up to Pedro and Carl. Do you put Steve Beitashour, Jay Demerit, Jordan Harvey or Andy O'Brien on the backline to inject some leadership in there? Truthfully, I'd have no problem with a Dean Leveron pairing at CB.
I know Erik Hurtado is riding sky-high confidence right now, but if Omar Salgado can play a full 90-minute match, I'd like to see him in the starting 11. He had a nice chance in his limited time against the Crew, and I'd like to see what the lanky Texan can do with a full 90 minutes under his belt.
Call me a cock-eyed optimist like Billy Mumphrey, but I'm saying 2-0 Vancouver. Carducci goes super saiyan.