After a lacklustre, 2-0 loss against the Ottawa Fury last Wednesday, the Vancouver Whitecaps came into the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship Semi-finals needing a win by at least three goals to move on. Thanks to goals from Octavio Rivero, Pedro Morales and Nicolas Mezquida, that's exactly what happened.
The Whitecaps staged a daring, 3-0 victory against the Ottawa Fury in the second leg of the semi-finals, pushing their way past a potential upset and onto the finals, as they try to continue their ACC title defence.
Head Coach Carl Robinson made plenty of changes to his starting 11, with only Goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, Center Back Tim Parker and Midfielder Nicolas Mezquida retaining their jobs from last week. Robinson went with plenty of well-known faces, although he also tried to get his youngsters some minutes as well, giving 15 year old Alphonso Davies a start up top.
70.Paolo Tornaghi; 6.Jordan Smith, 17.Andrew Jacobson, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 15.Matías Laba, 77.Pedro Morales; 13.Cristian Techera, 11.Nicolás Mezquida, 67.Alphonso Davies; 29.Octavio Rivero
It was an absolute dream start for the Whitecaps, who were able to get on the scoreboard almost instantly. In the second minute, Nicolas Mezquida was hauled down in the box by Rafael Alves of the Fury, earning the Whitecaps a penalty. Pedro Morales stepped up to the line and made no mistake, giving the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead.
The Whitecaps continued to keep the pressure up, carrying the play as they looked to add to their lead. They did just that in the 20th minute, when Mezquida was able to head home his first career ACC goal.
The Whitecaps would head into the break, still riding that 2-0 lead. They still needed the third goal, and would get it from Octavio Rivero in the 52nd minute. Rivero placed an absolutely perfect shot past Fury goalkeeper Romuald Peiser.
Now that they had the goals they needed, the Whitecaps needed to lock the match down and steer it home. The Whitecaps took their foot off the gas pedal in the attack a bit, but were able to keep the Fury at bay, earning their 3-0 win and moving onto the ACC final series.
Surely the talk of the match will be Davies, the teenager (tween-ager?) that nearly scored a goal in the match, but provided the Whitecaps faithful will a couple of moments of brilliance.