TFC not taking Whitecaps lightly - Toronto Star
After spending Sunday travelling back home from a 2-1 loss to the New England Revolution, Toronto FC had just one practice session to prepare for this afternoon's Canada Cup match against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
And they spent it playing cricket.
Even though the hour-long, limited-overs match was about the most light-hearted practice the team has had this season, head coach John Carver insists they're taking today's game as seriously as any league match.
The game against Vancouver is Toronto's second in the Canada Cup, a three-team round-robin tournament that also includes the Montreal Impact and serves as a qualifier for the CONCACAF Champions League later this year.
"I know what my priority is, and the priority is (Vancouver), then the next (league game) against Chicago," he said.
In between today's Canada Cup game and the July 12 league game in Chicago, TFC will host a friendly against Pachuca of the Mexican league.
Though Vancouver currently sits just one point out of first place in the United Soccer Leagues' first division, they're limping in to BMO Field for tonight's game, having lost two games to Montreal and two key players to European clubs.
The losses to Montreal mean Vancouver needs to win both games against Toronto if they hope to win the tournament, a tough task made even more difficult without defender Adrian Cann and midfielder Chris Pozniak.
Cann, a Canadian centre back who made his national team debut in World Cup qualifying last month, had been the team's captain, but signed with Esbjerg FB of the Danish Superliga over the weekend.
Pozniak spent last year with Toronto FC, then signed with San Jose after TFC released him. The day before Major League Soccer's regular season started, San Jose traded him to Chivas USA, where he played three games before signing with the Whitecaps.
In seven games with Vancouver, Pozniak played 570 minutes, recording a goal and an assist, but late last week he left the Whitecaps for a tryout with a club in England.
But even without two of their best players, and playing at a stadium where TFC hasn't lost all season, Carver says Vancouver presents a threat. He says he thinks enough of Vancouver – and this tournament – to field his top lineup.
"They're not a bad side because they're (near the) top of their league," he said. "They're like a wounded animal. They're going to come here (with) nothing to lose. It's make or break for them. They've got to win the game, so it should add to the spectacle."