Whitecaps dominate championship play but lag in USL campaign - The Province


BY MARC WEBER

It was a night for the former Whitecaps, certainly not the current ones.

Ex-Vancouver players Eduardo Sebrango and David Testo tallied for the visiting Montreal Impact in a 2-1 USL First Division win over the Whitecaps at Swangard Stadium on Sunday.

The present-day Caps, meanwhile, looked a shadow of the team that soared to victory over MLS side Toronto FC in Nutrilite Canadian Championship play on Tuesday.

They earned enough possession in the attacking third to win at least one point, but the offence repeatedly fizzled.

They didn't concede much in their own end, either, but paid for a pair of mental mistakes.

In general, they lacked the passion and precision so evident in Tuesday's emotional win. It's been a recent theme for the Whitecaps as the USL-1 and Nutrilite schedules have overlapped.

"No, I have no idea," said Martin Nash when asked to explain his team's two faces of late. "Whether it's the high of Tuesday's match for some of the guys ... tonight, we probably didn't deserve to lose, but I think we've just got to get sharper all around, play quicker and try and get in behind teams."

Perhaps the best news for Vancouver was that Montreal showed improvement from their May form, which bodes well for the Whitecaps' CONCACAF Champions League hopes come June 18 when they'll be cheering for the Impact in the Nutrilite tournament finale.

Anything less than a four-goal win by Toronto in Montreal that night and the Caps are through as Canada's representative.

It has been a mediocre start to league play for the defending USL-1 champions. Vancouver (3-4-2) has now dropped three straight and surrendered two goals in each. They are tied with Montreal (3-4-2) for sixth place in the 11-team league.

"We just didn't manage to follow up the good games we've had in the Nutrilite," said head coach Teitur Thordarson, whose troops beat Montreal in both Nutrilite meetings last month. "That's what hurts.

"I didn't think it would be [an emotional letdown], but we definitely didn't get the quality that we wanted, whether it's because of that or not. I choose to think we just didn't do things right."

Sebrango, a forward, paced the Whitecaps with 12 league goals last season. Testo, a midfielder, spent 2006 and half of '07 with the Whitecaps before being traded to Montreal, a regrettable move on Vancouver's part.

Testo struck the goal of the night, sending a missile past Jay Nolly from the right edge of the penalty area in the 44th minute. He was given too much space, but it was still a remarkable shot. Last season, Testo scored from 25 yards at Swangard.

"He puts that in the goal, you just kind of clap your hands," said Nash, who admitted Sebrango's opening tally was highly preventable.

Testo's strike stung even more as it came less than two minutes after forward Marcus Haber tied the game for Vancouver.

mweber@theprovince.com

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