The last time Toronto FC played a match at BC Place, they tore out the hearts of Vancouver Whitecaps supporters with a 90th +5 minute goal by Will Johnson to claim the 2016 Canadian Championship, through the away goals rule.
The good news is that Will Johnson is no longer with TFC, so Caps fans will not have to worry about a repeat performance on Saturday afternoon. Even better news, it appears that Sebastian Giovinco will miss the match, thanks to a leg injury he picked up in TFC’s match last weekend against Philadelphia.
Speaking of the Philadelphia match, like the Whitecaps the week before, TFC drew Philadelphia, which was TFC’s 6th draw in their last eight regular season matches. While this might suggest another draw is in their future, only one of the two teams’ seven regular season matchups have ended in a draw, with each team also winning three matches.
The Vancouver Whitecaps will be without their keeper David Ousted, as he will be serving a one-match suspension thanks to the red card received during last weekend’s match against San Jose Earthquakes. It will only be the second MLS match Ousted will not be starting since joining the Whitecaps in June 2013. Although Paolo Tornaghi has looked good in his non-MLS opportunities, he was very poor in taking over for Ousted last weekend. However, it must also be noted that the team was playing with 10-men the entire time he was in the match. Nevertheless, that performance certainly has some Caps fans nervous about what will happen Saturday.
Besides Ousted, it is unclear what other lineup changes we will see. Due to Tuesday’s match in Mexico, against Tigres, manager Carl Robinson went with mostly a B-team against Earthquakes. Will the layoff since Tuesday be enough time for players to rest so that we see a full-strength squad against TFC on Saturday? It is hard to tell as Wednesday/Saturday weeks tend to result in different lineups.
Fredy Montero received his first start as a Whitecaps on Tuesday, while Christian Bolanos saw his first action of the season in each of the last two matches, coming on as a substitute. Christian Dean was effective in the MLS home opener, but was heavily criticized for his gaffe that led to Ousted’s red card. It is unclear whether we will see him get another start this weekend.
As with every Vancouver Whitecaps versus Toronto FC matchup, Saturday’s tilt should be an excellent one, filled with plenty of rivalry and intrigue. You can watch the match on CTV and TSN1 in Canada or, better yet, at BC Place in Vancouver at 1pm.