Kick Off: 4:30
TV: TSN1 TSN4
Once again the Vancouver Whitecaps are on the precipice of a Voyageurs Cup disappointment. They are up against it, as T.F.C have the benefit of two away goals and undoubtedly the stronger squad on paper. But, as Clive Tyldesley frequently told the guy who got fired for saying women don’t understand the offside rule in FIFA 06, Games aren’t played on paper. So let’s look at how this game might shakedown.
The Whitecaps need either a win or a draw where they score 3+ goals in order to advance. A 2-2 draw will see the game advance to extra time and penalties. Any loss or a 1-1 tie will see the Whitecaps lose. Thus it will be in Vancouver’s interest to take the game to TFC and try to score early. The Whitecaps are very unfamiliar with being on the front foot and have looked very awkward when they’ve been put in a position in which they’re expected to control the game. The situation is far from ideal. Another aspect of the game which may cause the Whitecaps some trouble is the Canadian content rules of the Voyageurs Cup. The Whitecaps are required to field at least three Canadians. However Alphonso Davies, Doneil Henry, and Brett Levis are all question marks with injuries. Russel Teibert and Marcel De Jong are sure to take two of the places but, with youngsters Baldisimo, Colyn and Bair not on the trip, that leaves David Norman Jr. and Sean Melvin as the only other fully fit Canadians. It’s very possible that one of the young men who’ve played a combined total of one competitive professional football match in the past six months (don’t even get me started) will be thrust into a high stakes match.
Fatigue will also be an issue. The Whitecaps played midweek and started Kei Kamara. The 33 year old has often been rotated for midweek games. But the Whitecaps likely can’t afford to do that as Anthony Blondell and Erik Hurtado (despite his recent hot streak) probably can’t be relied on to score in such an important match. Will Kamara be able to make it 90+ minutes? Will his play suffer? I do not have the answer to these questions.
On the flip side though, TFC also played midweek in a high intensity match in which they were down to 10 men for most of it. Most of the big hitters (Giovinco, Vasquez, Bradley, Van Der Wiel, Osorio, Morrow) played the majority of the game so fatigue will be a big factor for both teams. They’ll also be without Brazilian fullback Auro who has a hamstring injury. This would be ideal for Alphonso Davies but alas he’s carrying a knock and will, at best, start on the bench. Yordy Reyna will have to pick up a lot of the slack. Fortunately Reyna was rested mid week and should be fresh (well as fresh as you can be after a coast to coast flight) for the game.
Out: Mutch, Aja, Felipe
Questionable: Davies, Henry, Levis
Projected Line Ups:
Vancouver: Marinovic; Nerwinski, Waston, Henry, De Jong; Techera Ghazal, Teibert, Shea; Reyna, Kamara
Toronto: Bono; Van Der Wiel, Zavaleta, Hagglund, Morgan; Bradely; Osorio, Chapman; Vasquez; Altidore, Giovinco