Toronto FCTOR

Match Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC

BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
March 2, 2013 (WEEK 1, MLS Game #2)
3:30 p.m. PT (TSN/RDS2)


A pair of Canadian rivals kick off the 2013 MLS season against each other when Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Toronto FC meet for the only time in league play at BC Place. Whitecaps FC are coming off a second season in the league where they qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs, in Martin Rennie’s first year in charge. Toronto FC are looking for their first-ever playoff berth, though they did get the better of Vancouver for a second year running in winning the Canadian Championship.


REFEREE: Juan Guzman. SAR (bench): Mike Rottersman; JAR (opposite): Baboucarr Jallow; 4th: Armando Villarreal
MLS Career: 21 games; FC/gm: 25.8; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 6; pens: 4


ALL-TIME (MLS) (3 meetings): Whitecaps FC 1 win, 6 goals … Toronto FC 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 0
AT VANCOUVER (1 meeting): Whitecaps FC 1 win, 4 goals … Toronto FC 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 0

7/1: TOR 3, VAN 2 (Silva 68; Frings 72; Dunfield 95+ -- Mattocks 50, 91+)
•    This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
•    Toronto FC have won the last two league meetings between the teams, both at BMO Field, including the lone MLS meeting a season ago.
•    Vancouver has won the only league meeting in British Columbia – a 4-2 win on March 19. 2011.
•    The teams have also met in the final of the Canadian Championship each of the last two seasons, with TFC claiming the title on both occasions. In each instance, the teams played to a first-leg draw in Vancouver, then Toronto won the second leg at home.
•    The clubs could also meet in this year’s Canadian Championship final, if each gets past their first-leg tie.
•    Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen vs. VAN: first game … Martin Rennie vs. TOR: P1 W0 L1 D0

Vancouver Whitecaps FC come off their second MLS season looking to build upon a remarkable campaign, one that saw the club reach the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time and narrowly miss out on knocking out the eventual cup winners in the Knockout Round. Martin Rennie begins his second season in charge of the club.

WATCH: The Scouting Report on the Vancouver Whitecaps

•    Whitecaps FC put an end to their 2013 preseason campaign with a 3-0 win against the PDL Carolina RailHawks last Sunday. Camilo Sanvezzo scored all three goals for Vancouver, in the 9th, 34th and 49th minutes.
•    Here’s the Whitecaps FC team: Brad Knighton (Sean Melvin 83'); Ethen Sampson, Carlyle Mitchell, Adam Clement (Johnny Leverón 66'), Greg Klazura (Emmanuel Adjetey 78'); Erik Hurtado, Nigel Reo-Coker (Jun Marques Davidson 46'), Russell Teibert (Crispin Olando 78'), Paulo Jr. (Matt Watson 46'); Camilo Sanvezzo (Dever Orgill 72'), Corey Hertzog
•    The day before, Whitecaps FC concluded their partipation in the Carolina Challenge Cup with a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire. Maicon Santos and Darren Mattocks traded goals 10 minutes apart in the second half for the result.
•    Here’s the Vancouver side: Joe Cannon; Young-Pyo Lee, Andy O’Brien, Brad Rusin, Jordan Harvey (Jun Marques Davidson 64’); Daigo Kobayashi, Gershon Koffie, Alain Rochat, Kekutah Manneh (Sam Adekubi 85’); Kenny Miller (Camilo Savensso 77’), Darren Mattocks
•    The club’s newest signing, long-time English Premier League campaigner Nigel Reo-Coker, made his Whitecaps FC preseason debut in the Carolina match, playing the first half in the midfield.
•    "He feels he can play 90 minutes, but he's not going to do that. But he will play a little bit and we'll see how he does and after that we'll decide how we go for Saturday [vs. Toronto FC],” Rennie said. " … It's not that long ago that he was playing 90-minute games. We'll see how his fitness is tomorrow and go from there."
•    Rennie concluded the preseason camp with no clear-cut decision on who will be the starting goalkeeper, still undecided between Joe Cannon and Brad Knighton.
•    "I think Joe did well [Saturday] and he has done well all preseaon in training camp and Brad has done fairly well, too," Rennie said. "We'll just have to wait and see. … I think we have competition in quite a few places and goalkeeper becomes more of a focal point. … It'll be an interesting talking point for people."
•    The other main lineup question surrounds the health of central defender Jay DeMerit, who is battling left Achilles tendonitis. The veteran said last week that the injury recovery was "taking a little bit longer.”
•    "He's coming along," Rennie said. "We just spoke to the physios, the sports science guys, and they just felt that with Jay. … He knows the tactical system, he understands that. It's just making sure that he feels 100 percent and we decided to do a slightly different program with him and also [Rusin] has been doing well and so we continued with him, too.”
•    In the back four, Jordan Harvey has held down the left back spot with Alain Rochat now figuring mainly as a holding mifdfielder.
•    “I’m happy in this position,” Rochat said. “I can still be part of the defense as the first defender in midfield, but I also enjoy making the ball run from the left side to the other side and vice versa. When you’re [a fullback], you have to wait until the ball comes back, but in the middle you’re the transition from offense to defense, and also from left to right, and I like it.”
•    Rochat also pointed to the addition of Daigo Kobayashi, signed during the offseason, as a key acquisition.
•    “He’s got unbelievable qualities,” Rochat said. “He’s a finisher, a passer – I didn’t know him at all before he came here. I was told he was one time the MVP in the Japanese league, so he will bring us, for sure, consistency in our attacking side and that will be good – he scored a nice goal in the last [preseason] game we played, so we can expect things from him.”


IN: FW Paulo Jr. (12/14/12 - Re-Entry Draft Stage 2); DF Brad Rusin (1/11/13 - transfer from HB Køge); FW Kekuta Manneh (1/17/13 - SuperDraft); FW Corey Hertzog (1/23/13 - free); FW Tommy Heinemann (1/23/13 - free); MF Daigo Kobayashi (1/28/13 - free); DF Johnny Leverón (2/19/13 - free); MF Nigel Reo-Coker (2/21/13 - first right of refusal from Portland); GK Simon Thomas (2/25/13 - free)

OUT: GK Brian Sylvestre (11/8/12 - option declined); MF Tiago Ulisses (11/8/12 - option declined); FW Etienne Barbara (11/8/12 - option declined); MF Michael Nanchoff (12/3/12 - option declined); MF John Thorrington (12/3/12 - option declined); MF Atiba Harris (12/3/12 - traded to Colorado); MF Barry Robson (1/21/13 - contract terminated); DF Martín Bonjour (1/25/13 - waived); MF Michael Nanchoff (2/13/12 - trade to Portland)

It’s an entirely new era for Toronto FC, as the club looks to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in their seventh season of existence. New club president Kevin Payne installed former D.C. United and English Premier League defender Ryan Nelsen as head coach.

WATCH: The Scouting Report on Toronto FC

•    Toronto FC ended their 2013 preseason schedule on Saturday with a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City in the 2013 Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Fla. Claudio Bieler struck for the game’s only goal in the 23rd minute. TFC played the final 33 minutes a man down after Darren O’Dea was sent off.
•    Here’s the TFC team: Joe Bendik; Richard Eckersley, Danny Califf, Darren O'Dea, Justin Davis (Darel Russell 46); Reggie Lambe, Jonathan Osorio (Terry Dunfield 75), Jeremy Hall (Kyle Bekker 78), Emery Welshmann (Andrew Wiedeman 85); Luis Silva (Ashton Bennett 67), Taylor Morgan (Gale Agbossoumonde 60)
•    During the Disney tournament, TFC also lost 1-0 to the Columbus Crew, and drew 3-3 with Sporting KC, in matches involving MLS competition.
•    When O’Dea was sent off in the preseason finale, it gave Danny Califf – acquired in the offseason through the re-entry draft – a chance to get a full runout.
•    “Danny is coming back from a [knee] injury and he hasn’t had the preseason that the other players had so we just needed him to get minutes, hopefully to get sharper, faster, quicker,” Nelsen said. “This will be really beneficial for him. I was probably only going to give him 70, but with the sending-off, he played out and I think mentally it will be great for Danny knowing he can get through 90 minutes in really hot, testing conditions.”
•    Just days before the start of the season, TFC Designated Player Torsten Frings announced his retirement after 18 years in the game. The 36-year-old could not rebound from a hip injury that required surgery last season.
•    “During preseason we discovered that my recovery would take longer than expected,” Frings said. “I always want to do what’s best for the team and that is why I have decided to step away. I really enjoyed my time in Toronto and playing for Toronto FC. I wish the club all the best this season and hopefully they can continue to embrace the winning spirit that I brought to the team.”
•    There is a question in goal, where Stefan Frei returned to action for the start of preseason coming off a fractured ankle that forced him to miss nearly the entirety of the 2012 season. But Frei suffered a broken nose in the Disney Classic in a match against Orlando City SC, and Joe Bendik – acquired from Portland in a trade that saw goalkeeper Milos Kocic go the other way – could be the opening day starter.
•    “My approach is the same as every club I go to,” Bendik said. “If I’m the starting goalkeeper to push to keep the starting spot and if I’m the second goalkeeper to push the first goalkeeper so we can both reach our  maximum level.  It’s quite simple.”


IN: FW Justin Braun (12/3/12 - trade from Real Salt Lake); GK Joe Bendik (12/12/12 - trade from Portland); DF Danny Califf (12/14/12 - Re-Entry Draft Stage 2); DF Gale Agbossoumonde (12/20/12 - weighted lottery); MF Júlio César (1/15/2013 - free); MF Kyle Bekker (1/17/13 - SuperDraft); MF Hogan Ephraim (2/27/13 - loan from Queens Park Rangers)

OUT: DF Adrian Cann (11/15/12 - option declined); DF Ty Harden (11/15/12 - option declined); DF Dicoy Williams (11/15/12 - option declined); MF Oscar Cordon (11/15/12 - option declined); FW Nicholas Lindsay (11/15/12 - option declined); FW Keith Makubuya (11/15/12 - option declined); MF Aaron Maund (12/3/12 - traded to Real Salt Lake); MF Eric Avila (12/3/12 - out of contract); FW Ryan Johnson (12/12/12 - trade to Portland); GK Milos Kocic (12/12/12 - trade to Portland); FW Joao Plata (1/30/13 - trade to Real Salt Lake); FW Eric Hassli (2/4/13 - trade to FC Dallas); MF Torsten Frings (2/26/13 - retired)

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