Vancouver Whitecaps vs. FC Edmonton: Canadian Championship Match Preview
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS vs. FC EDMONTON
BC PLACE, Vancouver, BC
May 1, 2013 (Amway Canadian Championship Semifinal, Leg 2)
10 pm ET/7 pm PT (Sportsnet)
Game notes courtesy of WhitecapsFC.com
The Vancouver Whitecaps (2-3-3 in MLS; 1-0-0 in ACC) take on North American Soccer League (NASL) outfit FC Edmonton (1-2-1 in NASL; 0-1-0 in ACC) in the second leg of their Amway Canadian Championship (ACC) semifinal on Wednesday evening at BC Place. Vancouver hold a 3-2 lead from the first leg as they look to progress to the final.
Last week’s 3-2 victory in Alberta set Whitecaps FC on course to return to the ACC final for the third successive year since the tournament switched to a knockout format. The team with the best score on aggregate (combined score from the two games) will progress with away goals acting as the tiebreaker if the aggregate scores are even. If the sides still cannot be separated there will be two 15-minute halves of extra time followed by a penalty shootout if the deadlock is not broken.
Whitecaps FC beat their neighbors from Alberta 3-2 in last week’s first leg at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. The win took Vancouver’s all-time record against FC Edmonton to 3-0-0.
Last season’s semifinal series in the ACC was the first time that Vancouver Whitecaps FC had taken on FC Edmonton and after an impressive 2-0 win in Edmonton, Whitecaps FC secured their passage through to the final with three late goals in a 3-1 victory at BC Place.
Vancouver Whitecaps team news
After a morale boosting comeback in the 2-2 draw against FC Dallas at the weekend, Whitecaps FC now face FC Edmonton for the second time in seven days. Fighting back from two goals down last Saturday to grab a point, Vancouver will want to carry that performance into the match with the Eddies. Rookie Kekuta Manneh played a huge role in the result, scoring the first goal and assisting on the second after coming on as a 54th minute substitute.
The prize on offer tonight is a place in the ACC final against either Toronto FC or Montreal Impact. Vancouver hold a 3-2 lead and a positive result at BC Place will ensure safe passage through to a fifth successive final. TFC lead Montreal 2-0 in the other semifinal with that series' second leg due to kick off at 7:30 pm ET on Wednesday at Stade Saputo.
Six players who started the match against FC Dallas had also started against FC Edmonton last week and Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie may look to rotate the squad again with another MLS match, away at Real Salt Lake, coming up this Saturday.
FC Edmonton team news
Last week’s loss at the hands of Vancouver extended FC Edmonton’s winless start to the season to four matches, but the Eddies broke their duck under new coach Colin Miller to record their first win of the season by beating San Antonio Scorpions 1-0 at Clarke Stadium on Saturday.
Miller, a former 'Caps assistant coach, will not be on the sidelines for the Eddies on Wednesday after being ejected for arguing with the referee late in the first leg.
Edmonton’s roster features several familiar faces. Centre back Carlyle Mitchell recently went on loan from Whitecaps FC, while defender Wes Knight played in Vancouver from 2009 until 2011, including a substitute appearance and assist in the ‘Caps inaugural MLS match against Toronto FC in 2011. Neither player will feature for the Eddies as Mitchell is ineligible to play against his parent club and Knight is ruled out with a foot injury.
The Alberta outfit have also benefited from the Whitecaps FC Residency program with striker Sadi Jalali returning to FC Edmonton after spending time in the 'Caps Residency program last year, and defender Antonio Rago having developed from the Residency program as well. In terms of personal connections, ‘Caps midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker grew up with Edmonton midfielder Chris Nurse in England, while Martin Rennie coached Nurse at Carolina RailHawks.