The Vancouver Whitecaps travel to Montreal to face the Impact tonight in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal, for the Voyageurs Cup. The Caps took the first leg last Tuesday, at BC Place, 2-1, thanks to a dominant first half. As impressive was their first half, their second half was equally as unimpressive. Montreal Impact made the necessary adjustments at halftime and controlled the second half. If not for a bit of luck and poor finishing from Montreal, the match could have ended 2-2 or even worse. However, could have and should have are not reality and reality is, the Caps have an opportunity to advance to the finals.
There are plenty of ways the Whitecaps could advance Tuesday night. Key to this match will be scoring a goal. If the Caps are able to find the back of the net, they will remove the away-goal advantage that Montreal currently possess.
Vancouver is coming off a disappointing match Saturday against Eastern Conference cellar-dweller D.C. United, in which they lost 1-0 on a terrible penalty kick call. Despite referee influence, the Caps were unable to convert their numerous opportunities in the first half that would have put the game out of reach and the second half penalty moot. They will need to have a short memory to ensure that they put their best foot forward Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, the Montreal Impact did not play this weekend in MLS action, so they should be well-rested and I would expect to see a full-strength squad that features Lauren Ciman, Ignacio Piatti, and new DP Blerim Dzemaili
For the Whitecaps, what may be most important for Tuesday’s contest was the result on Sunday of Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 (ThunderCaps), as Carl Robinson has shown a preference for playing the youngsters in the Canadian Championship. Despite a late first pro goal from 18-year-old Terran Campbell, the ThunderCaps lost to Real Monarchs 2-1.
However, the ThunderCaps fielded a very young team, presumably because many of their more senior players would be making the trip to Montreal to face the Impact. Sem de Wit, Cole Seiler, Spencer Richey, Ben McKendry, and Marco Bustos. Presumably they will start on Tuesday.
Today, the Whitecaps announced their 23-man roster for the contest and it will largely feature the same players as last week’s match. Remember, new this year, teams are required to start three Canadians in the Voyageurs Cup, AND Alphonso Davies does not count as a Canadian (yet).
The Vancouver Whitecaps face an uphill battle despite being ahead 2-1, however, it is quite possible that they could pull this one out. It should be a fantastic match and a great opportunity for the young players on the Whitecaps squad.
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