Preview: Whitecaps FC face FC Edmonton

'Caps kickoff Amway Canadian Championship campaign

EDMONTON, AB – Whitecaps FC kickoff their 2013 Amway Canadian Championship (ACC) campaign when they take on North American Soccer League (NASL) outfit FC Edmonton this Wednesday evening at the Commonwealth Stadium in the first leg of their semifinal series.

Wednesday's match between Whitecaps FC and FC Edmonton kicks off at 6:30 p.m. PT and is live on Sportsnet. 'Caps fans can also listen to Wednesday night’s match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 4:30 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show.

With the opportunity to lift the Voyageurs Cup, as well as represent Canada in the 2013 CONCACAF Champions League, Whitecaps FC will be looking to progress against FC Edmonton. The Alberta outfit were Vancouver’s opponents at this stage in 2012 and the ‘Caps will hope to emulate their performance on that occasion when they went through 5-1 on aggregate.

WHITECAPS FC

Vancouver will want to bounce back from a 2-0 loss at the weekend away to MLS leaders FC Dallas. A goal in each half condemned Whitecaps FC to defeat as a Brad Rusin own goal in the first half and a Blas Perez header after the break sealed the result.

Whitecaps FC will be looking to pick up their first away victory of the season against NASL outfit FC Edmonton. The ‘Caps have won their only previous match against the Eddies in Edmonton, as they won 2-0 at Commonwealth Stadium in last season’s edition of the ACC.

Martin Rennie may look to rotate his team from Saturday’s match in Dallas, especially with Kenny Miller and Corey Hertzog still struggling with injuries and winger Omar Salgado away with the United States U-20 national team.

FC EDMONTON

FC Edmonton are currently winless in 2013 after three matches in the NASL. They drew their opener 1-1 away at Fort Lauderdale Strikers before losing successive road trips at Carolina Railhawks (2-1) and Minnesota United (2-0).

Former Vancouver Whitecaps FC assistant coach Colin Miller took the reins at Edmonton in November and looks to turn around the club’s fortunes. Last season, the Eddies had a disappointing season in which the Alberta side finished eighth in the NASL, 10 points outside the playoffs.

Edmonton’s roster features several familiar faces. Centre back Carlyle Mitchell recently went on loan from Whitecaps FC but will be ineligble to play the 'Caps during these ACC matches, while defender Wes Knight played in Vancouver from 2009 until 2011, including a substitute appearance and assist in the ‘Caps inaugural MLS match against Toronto FC in 2011. Other familiar names include striker Sadi Jalali and defender Antonio Rago, who both took part in the Whitecaps FC Residency program. In terms of personal connections, ‘Caps midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker grew up with Edmonton midfielder Chris Nurse in England, while Martin Rennie coached Nurse at Carolina RailHawks.

AMWAY CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP

The Amway Canadian Championship follows a four-team format with Whitecaps FC, Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and FC Edmonton battling it out for both the Voyageurs Cup and the right to represent Canada during the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League.

Teams take part in a two-legged home-and-away semi-final series with the winners repeating the process in the final, meaning that should Vancouver progress they would face either Toronto FC or Montreal Impact for the chance to claim a first ever ACC title for the ‘Caps.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Last season’s semi-final was the first time that Vancouver Whitecaps FC had taken on FC Edmonton and they came away from the two-legged tie with a 2W-0L-0D record. After an impressive 2-0 win in Edmonton, Whitecaps FC secured their passage through to the final with three late goals in a 3-1 victory at BC Place. Although these were the first matches Whitecaps FC had ever played against the Eddies, Vancouver have previously played teams from the city of Edmonton and from the province of Alberta.

Dating back to 1979, Whitecaps FC played teams from Edmonton 37 times and clubs from Alberta 65 times. This included 11 meetings versus Edmonton Drillers in the old NASL between 1979 and 1982, with the ‘Caps registering an 8W-3L record overall and a perfect 5W-0L record versus the Drillers in Vancouver. During the Canadian Soccer League era, Vancouver registered a 19W-1L-1D overall record versus Edmonton Brick Men, including a home record of 10W-0L-1D between 1987 and 1990. In the United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) season of 2004, Whitecaps FC registered a 2W-1L-1D record versus Edmonton Aviators, including a 0W-1L-1D home record that year. In fact, the last time Whitecaps FC hosted a club from Edmonton was in USL-1 on July 4, 2004, as the Aviators defeated Vancouver 3-2 at Swangard Stadium. In all, Whitecaps FC have a 30W-5L-2D all-time record against clubs from Edmonton, including an overall home record of 15W-1L-2D.

NEXT UP

Following the first leg of the ACC semi-final against FC Edmonton, Whitecaps FC will take on last weekend’s opponents FC Dallas at BC Place. Kickoff for Saturday’s match is at 3 p.m. PT.