Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Montreal Impact | 2017 Can. Champ. Match Preview
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Montreal Impact
2017 Canadian Championship Semfinals, 1st Leg
BC Place - Vancouver, British Columbia
Tuesday, May 23 - 10 p.m. ET
WATCH: TSN 1 in Canada
The future of the Canadian National Team could be on display if prodigious midfielders Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla and Alphonso Davies tangle during Tuesday night's Canadian Championship semifinal first leg between the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
The 18-year-old Tabla has blossomed into a regular Montreal, making his fourth consecutive start and registering an assist as the Impact picked themselves off the Eastern Conference basement with a 4-1 victory over the visiting Portland Timbers Saturday.
The 16-year-old winger Davies has found a niche as a regular sub for Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson. But much like Robinson used CONCACAF Champions League group matches to give Davies exposure to the pro game last fall, the Canadian Championship should provide extended minutes, especially with a new tournament rule requiring three Canadian players start in every match.
The teens squared off in the sides' league encounter on the final weekend in April, though Davies only played the final 22 minutes of Vancouver's 2-1 victory at Stade Saputo.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
After a shaky start to their home campaign, Vancouver has now won three straight league encounters at BC place following an impressive 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City on the weekend. And the Whitecaps will hope to run that streak to five matches in all competition by the week's end, following their first leg with another home league encounter against struggling D.C. United next Saturday (7 pm ET; TSN1/3/4/5 in Canada | MLS LIVE in US).
The Whitecaps signed six players off of their USL squad for the competition. Meanwhile, Costa Rican international Christian Bolaños is not a part of Vancouver's 23-man tournament roster after assisting both goals on Saturday. Cristian Techera is included, though, after scoring his third goal of the season against SKC. He looks to continue his impressive form in tournament play after he led the Whitecaps in scoring in the 2016-17 CCL.
- Suspended: NONE
- Int’l Duty: NONE
- Injury Report: OUT: D Brett Levis (ACL tear), M Yordy Reyna (foot surgery), D David Edgar (PCL, MCL tear), F Erik Hurtado (left foot contusion), D Christian Dean (foot injury), F Bernie Ibini (right hamstring strain)
Projected Starting XI (4-1-4-1): GK: Spencer Richey — Marcel de Jong, Cole Seiler, Tim Parker, Jake Nerwinski — Matias Laba — Cristian Techera, Mauro Rosales, Tony Tchani, Alphonso Davies — Fredy Montero
Notes: Vancouver is looking for a second Canadian Championship in three years after winning their first Voyageurs Cup in 14 attempts in 2015.
The Impact rebounded from a crushing home loss to Columbus Crew SC with a comfortable victory over the 10-man Timbers that saw Ignacio Piatti register his first MLS brace of the season. The Argentine winger struck early from the penalty spot and then added a second five minutes after halftime to take him to six on the season, suggesting the 32-year-old may in fact replicate last year's 17-goal campaign.
On-loan Serie A veteran Blerim Dzemaili picked up his first MLS assist in his second start and 90-minute performance since his arrival from Bologna just two weeks ago. And with no league commitments this weekend, coach Mauro Biello may be able to push Dzemaili, Piatti and other veterans harder in midweek action than he might usually after a quick, cross-continental turnaround.
- Suspended: None.
- International duty: None.
- Injury report: OUT: M - Shamit Shome (foot injury), M - Andres Romero (hamstring injury), D - Victor Cabrera (ankle injury), F - Matteo Mancosu (thigh injury 4/29, out 6-8 weeks)
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Evan Bush (GK) - Ambroise Oyongo, Laurent Ciman, Kyle Fisher, Chris Duvall - Adrian Arregui, Calum Mallace - Ignacio Piatti, Blerim Dzemaili, Ballou Tabla - Dominic Oduro
Notes: Despite reaching the 2015 final, Montreal is winless in its last five Canadian Championship matches. It's most recent victory was a 1-0 home semifinal first leg triumph over Toronto FC in 2015, a tie Montreal won on away goals after losing the second leg 3-2.
These clubs have twice contested Canadian Championship finals during their respective MLS eras, but this is their first semifinal meeting since Montreal joined the league in 2012. Montreal won the 2013 final over Vancouver on away goals, and Vancouver triumphed 4-2 on aggregate over Montreal in the 2015 final.
- Overall: Whitecaps 1 wins, 6 goals; Impact 0 wins, 4 goals; 3 draws.
- In Vancouver: Whitecaps 1 wins, 4 goals; Impact 0 wins, 2 goals; 1 draw.