Whitecaps almost a lock to advance - Metro

BY BEN RYCROFT

Barring any miracles this Thursday, the Vancouver Whitecaps should advance to the CONCACAF Champions League. The only way they wouldn’t, would be if the Montreal Impact were to fall on their faces and allow Toronto FC to four or more goals.

Toronto has only scored four goals once in its short history. And Montreal has only allowed four or more goals once in the last three years. So, as I said, barring any miracles, Vancouver will be moving on.

Advancing to the Champions League is a tremendous accomplishment for the club that has been swimming in good news off the pitch this year. Their acceptance into the MLS, the coming move to B.C. Place, all wrapped around the club’s 35th year celebrations, has put the team on high. But on the pitch has been a different story.

This past Friday, the Caps won their first league match in four games by defeating Miami 3-2. The win was marred by red cards being issued to two Whitecaps players for fighting. Each other.

In the 85th minute, with the game in hand, Whitecaps defender Wesley Charles ran 20 yards down the pitch to attack teammate Charles Gbeke. Just moments before the incident erupted, the two appeared to be having words over a missed chance by Gbeke. Charles was immediately red carded on the play and sent off. Gbeke would receive a yellow and then another, moments later, when he angrily kicked a water bottle on the sidelines.

The pair will miss the next Caps game against Montreal and may receive additional suspensions from the league.

This week should have been a continuation of this year’s celebrations. For the first time, a team other than Montreal will be presented with the Voyageurs Cup.

Instead, a black cloud will hang over Vancouver as they start sorting out what is obviously a major rift in the dressing room and await news from the league on additional suspensions for their two best players.

– Watch Ben Rycroft on the It’s Called Football show every Monday at metronews.ca;
ben.rycroft@metronews.ca.