The Vancouver Whitecaps will host the Montreal Impact in the second leg of the Voyageurs Cup Wednesday evening, down 1-0, with the winner heading to the final of the Canadian Championship against Ottawa Fury or Toronto FC.
The Whitecaps come into this match having lost five of their last six, being shut out in four of those five losses. To advance to the final of the Canadian Championship, the Whitecaps will have to find their scoring touch. However, this will be challenging as they will be without their young catalyst Alphonso Davies.
Alphonso Davies will be in Philadelphia with Bayern Munich, for their friendly against Juventus, after it appears Vancouver has agreed to a $13 million transfer.
After starting poorly, Montreal has come on of late, going 6-1-1 in their last eight matches. This includes a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Portland Timbers on Saturday evening. With the Impact playing in Portland over the weekend, travel should not be an issue for the squad, so expect them to come out strong. Meanwhile, Vancouver could be suffering some Davies-blues in this one.
With Montreal securing a 1-0 victory at home last Wednesday evening, any win, draw, or one-goal loss (except 1-0 Vancouver) will see them advance.
Winner of the previous two Voyageurs Cups, and the corresponding CONCACAF Champions League spot, Toronto FC have struggled this season in MLS play. As a result, both Montreal and Vancouver will probably see this as a great opportunity to bring home some hardware this season, given that neither seem poised to do much damage in MLS play. Therefore, the loser of Wednesday night’s semi-final match likely ends this year’s campaign without any trophies.
It is unclear what lineup Robinson will put out on the field. The club certainly needs to win, but last Wednesday’s and Saturday’s efforts were extremely lackluster. While wholesale changes is not the best way to go, something needs to fire this team up and get them performing. Every player needs to look in the mirror and improve, or what little optimism remains for this season could quickly vanish.
Required to start at least three Canadians in the match, expect to see Marcel de Jong or Brett Levis at left back, with Russell Teibert in his usual defensive midfield role. With Davies out, it is expected that David Norman Jr. will get another opportunity to start as the third Canadian.
Efrain Juarez could see some action as well, given that he is suspended for next Saturday’s match against Minnesota; although, honestly, I would prefer he stays stapled to the bench!
With the Whitecaps struggling to keep a clean sheet, with only two this season, and the last being April 27th, it is likely that the Whitecaps will have to score at least three to win this one. Given their recent scoring drought, unless Marinovic can turn things around and he and the defense can keep a clean sheet, Vancouver could see their Voyageurs Cup hopes dashed Wednesday night.
What are your expectations for this match? Will the Whitecaps pull out the victory? Who do you see starting for Vancouver? Will it be enough?
Let us know your thoughts heading into this one.