Preview: Whitecaps FC host Montreal Impact in Amway Canadian Championship finale
VANCOUVER, BC – After 11 years of chasing the Voyageurs Cup, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS RS 3W-4L-4D – ACC 2W-0L-1D) could make history this Wednesday evening as they take on MLS rivals Montreal Impact (MLS RS 7W-2L-2D – ACC 1W-1L-1D) in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship (ACC) final at BC Place.
Wednesday's match between Whitecaps FC and Montreal Impact kicks off at 7:00 p.m. PT and is live on Sportsnet Pacifc, Sportsnet ONE, and Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to Wednesday evening’s match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 5:00 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match.
The two-match series is dead even going into the second leg following a 0-0 draw during the first leg in Montreal two weeks ago. Away goals will be the tiebreaker in the event of a draw, so Vancouver need to win to claim the cup and book a place in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League. Another scoreless draw would result in two 15-minute periods of extra-time and, if the teams are still not separated after that, a penalty shootout.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver have enjoyed a 10-day break following their last match, a 2-2 draw at home to Cascadia Cup rivals Portland Timbers on Saturday, May 18. Whitecaps FC twice took the lead on brilliant goals from Camilo and Gershon Koffie, but both times were pegged back by the Timbers.
Whitecaps FC prepare for Voyageurs Cup finale
Prior to that match, Vancouver became the first team this season to stop high-scoring Montreal from getting a goal at Stade Saputo as they held out for a 0-0 draw in the first leg of this Amway Canadian Championship final. The result now gives the 'Caps a great chance to lift the Voyageurs Cup in front of their home fans at BC Place.
The break for Whitecaps FC has given striker Kenny Miller a chance to recuperate after a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, meaning the Scot could see the field for the first time since he played and scored in March against Chivas USA.
Centre back Johnny Leveron returns from a suspension that ruled him out of the match against Portland, while striker Darren Mattocks will also be available after completing 90 minutes for Jamaica last Thursday in Bermuda in their friendly against English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. The Reggae Boyz held Gareth Bale and company to a 0-0 draw.
Montreal are coming off a weekend victory against fellow MLS Eastern Conference side Philadelphia Union this past Saturday in which MLS top scorer Marco Di Vaio (9 goals) got a first-half hat-trick in a 5-3 win.
Last match: Montreal Impact 5-3 Philadelphia Union
The Quebec club are building on a great start to the 2013 season as they sit in second place in the MLS Eastern Conference, only two points behind top-place New York Red Bulls and with four games in hand.
Coach Marco Schallibaum named a strong starting lineup in the first leg against Vancouver and, with the Canadian Championship up for grabs, it is expected that the Swiss coach will name a full strength side.
Montreal could include Italian World Cup winning legend Alessandro Nesta after the veteran defender returned from injury to play a full 90 minutes on Saturday.
Among the players out for the Impact due to injury are defender Alessandro Nesta (R groin strain), Nelson Rivas (L knee surgery) and strikers Daniele Paponi (R hamstring strain) and Andrea Pisanu (R quad strain). Midfielder Davy Arnaud is listed as questionable (concussion-like symptoms).
AMWAY CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
1st leg: Montreal Impact 0 - 0 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Vancouver and Montreal played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the ACC final to set up a tense finale at BC Place on Wednesday night. The team that is victorious on aggregate over the two legs will lift the Voyageurs Cup and represent Canada in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League.
The 'Caps and Impact each won their way to the finals with two-legged semifinal wins against FC Edmonton and Toronto FC respectively. Vancouver won 3-2 away before seeing out the tie with a comfortable 2-0 victory at BC Place to record a 5-2 aggregate victory. Montreal Impact did things the hard way, losing 2-0 away to Toronto FC before putting in an impressive performance at Stade Saputo, beating TFC 6-0 to go through 6-2 on aggregate.
The last meeting between the two sides was the first leg on May 15 when they played out a 0-0 draw, but before that they last played each other on the opening day of the 2012 MLS campaign when the 'Caps beat the Impact in their first ever MLS match.
The rivalry between Whitecaps FC and the Impact stretches back nearly two decades. Between 1993 and 2013, the two clubs have met 57 times, with the majority of those games coming at the North American second division level. The Impact lead the all-time series of results with a 29W-17L-11D record. This includes an all-time record of 15W-9L-4D for the Impact in Vancouver.
Whitecaps FC do have the upper hand in Canadian Championship action having not lost against the Quebec outfit since 2008. Vancouver now have an overall record of 3W-2L-4D against Montreal in the ACC including a 1W-1L-1D in matches played in British Columbia, and are currently on a seven-match unbeaten streak against the Impact in ACC play.
After Wednesday’s conclusion of the ACC, Whitecaps FC will travel East to take on New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Saturday June 1. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. PT with coverage on Sportsnet Pacific and TEAM 1410 radio.