Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Montreal Impact | Amway Canadian Championship Final Preview
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS vs. MONTREAL IMPACT
BC PLACE, Vancouver, BC
May 29, 2013 (Amway Canadian Championship Final, Leg 2)
10 pm ET (Sportsnet, TVA in Canada)
After 11 years of chasing the Voyageurs Cup, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS RS 3W-4L-4D – ACC 2W-0L-1D) could make history this Wednesday evening as they take on MLS rivals Montreal Impact (MLS RS 7W-2L-2D – ACC 1W-1L-1D) in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship (ACC) final at BC Place.
Meanwhile, the Impact are chasing their first Canadian title since 2008, the last of their seven Voyageurs Cups in a row.
The winner of the match will earn Canada's berth in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League.
The first leg, played two weeks ago, finished 0-0.
Away goals will be the tiebreaker in the event of a draw, so the Whitecaps need to win to claim the cup, while Montreal need a win or a non-scorelss draw.
A second scoreless draw would result in two 15-minute periods of extratime, and, if still tied at the end of that, a penalty shootout.
Vancouver have enjoyed a 10-day break following their last match, a 2-2 draw at home to Cascadia Cup rivals Portland Timbers on Saturday, May 18. Whitecaps FC twice took the lead on brilliant goals from Camilo and Gershon Koffie, but both times were pegged back by the Timbers.
Prior to that match, Vancouver became the first team this season to stop high-scoring Montreal from getting a goal at Stade Saputo as they held out for a 0-0 draw in the first leg of this Amway Canadian Championship final. The result now gives the 'Caps a great chance to lift the Voyageurs Cup in front of their home fans at BC Place.
The break for Whitecaps FC has given striker Kenny Miller a chance to recuperate after a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, meaning the Scot could see the field for the first time since he played and scored in March against Chivas USA.
Centre back Johnny Leveron returns from a suspension that ruled him out of the match against Portland, while striker Darren Mattocks will also be available after completing 90 minutes for Jamaica last Thursday in Bermuda in their friendly against English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. The Reggae Boyz held Gareth Bale and company to a 0-0 draw.
The Blue and Whites will have to do without captain Jay DeMerit (ruptured Achilles tendon), winger Omar Salgado (foot surgery).
In their last game, the Impact topped the Philadelphia Union 5-3 at Stade Saputo last Saturday. Impact striker Marco Di Vaio scored the club’s first ever treble in MLS, while Andrew Wenger and Blake Smith scored their first goals of the season. Wenger earned his first multi-point game with an assist on the first goal of the match.
The Impact sits in second spot in the Eastern Conference standings having earned 23 points in 11 games played (7-2-2), just two back of the conference leading New York Red Bulls, but with four games in hand. The team also has the best points per game ratio in the entire league with 2.09 and is first in MLS with an average of 1.8 goals scored per game.
The Impact has a record of 2-1-2 on the road in regular season action this season, and lost its first leg of the ACC semifinal versus TFC in Toronto 2-0.
“It’s a great challenge that lies ahead of us,” said Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum. “After a great game this past weekend, we have a lot of confidence going to Vancouver. We are ready for a tough game as we know that Vancouver wants the cup as much as we do. The importance is that we approach the game with the same attitude we’ve had all season.”
Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush is scheduled to play, having started all of the ACC games for the Impact thus far in 2013.
“We are expecting them to come out and attack,” says Bush, who registered the shutout in the first game of the series. "They are playing at home so they are going to want to try and get ahead right away. That should open up space for us as well, so we’ll need to take advantage of that. Winning this title would be something that we cherish for a long time.”
“I think people forget that they need to score a goal just as much as we do after the 0-0 game here last time,” Wenger said. “If we score that important away goal, then we are in good position. Our confidence is high and we are feeling pretty good.”
AMWAY CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
The 'Caps and Impact each won their way to the finals with two-legged semifinal wins against FC Edmonton and Toronto FC, respectively. Vancouver won 3-2 away before seeing out the tie with a comfortable 2-0 victory at BC Place to record a 5-2 aggregate victory.
Montreal did things the hard way, losing 2-0 away to Toronto FC before putting in an impressive performance at Stade Saputo, beating TFC 6-0 to go through 6-2 on aggregate.
The last meeting between the two sides was the first leg on May 15 when they played out a 0-0 draw, but before that they last played each other on the opening day of the 2012 MLS campaign when the 'Caps beat the Impact in their first ever MLS match.
The rivalry between Whitecaps FC and the Impact stretches back nearly two decades. Between 1993 and 2013, the two clubs have met 57 times, with the majority of those games coming at the North American second division level. The Impact lead the all-time series of results with a 29W-17L-11D record. This includes an all-time record of 15W-9L-4D for the Impact in Vancouver.
Whitecaps FC do have the upper hand in Canadian Championship action having not lost against the Quebec outfit since 2008. Vancouver now have an overall record of 3W-2L-4D against Montreal in the ACC including a 1W-1L-1D in matches played in British Columbia, and are currently on a seven-match unbeaten streak against the Impact in ACC play.