Three storylines to watch as Whitecaps FC host Toronto FC Wednesday at BC Place
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Here are three storylines to get you set for the match.
There were a total of eight Canadian players on Whitecaps FC’s 18-man roster in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal and each of them came through the club’s Residency program.
The headliner of the group is 21-year-old midfielder Russell Teibert, who has been a member of Whitecaps FC’s Major League Soccer roster since their inaugural season in 2011. In fact, the Niagara Falls, Ontario native first joined the club’s Residency program when he was 15 years old.
For these reasons and more, Teibert was given the captain’s armband in the first leg – and Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson confirmed that he’d wear it again on Wednesday.
“He’s going to be the future captain of this club, I have no doubt about it,” Robinson told reporters.
Teibert led the team admirably last week, and he’ll be looking to do the same Wednesday at BC Place.
One of the big questions this week, for both teams, is what kind of lineup do they field on Wednesday?
In the first leg, Vancouver’s starting lineup had an average age of 22.11 years old and featured four players making their first-team debut (including three teenagers).
Toronto, on the other hand, went with a more experienced group led by Designated Players Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe, and Gilberto. That choice was made easier by the fact that Toronto had a bye from MLS play this past weekend – as the ‘Caps do this coming weekend.
Bradley, Defoe, and Gilberto all made the trip to Vancouver, so they could play again on Wednesday. Robinson, meanwhile, has confirmed that 17-year-old goalkeeper Marco Carducci and 21-year-old defender Christian Dean will get the nod again for the Blue and White.
“I believe in them and if I didn’t I wouldn’t be playing them,” Robinson said of his young players. “I didn’t put a young team out in Toronto because I didn’t want to win the competition … I believe in them. It’s an important game, it’s the Canadian Championship, and we want to win it.”
With 18-year-old Residency midfielders Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese away with the Canadian U-20 national team, however, you can expect the ‘Caps to have a little more first-team presence in the squad in the second leg.
Do or die
Toronto came away with a 2-1 win in the first leg of this Canadian Championship semifinal, but Kekuta Manneh picked up an important away goal for Vancouver in the process. Though the Reds have a one-goal advantage on aggregate, the away goal puts the 'Caps in a good position heading into Wednesday’s contest.
For Whitecaps FC to advance to the Canadian Championship final, they must either win 1-0 or by two goals. Any other result – aside from a 2-1 ‘Caps win, which would result in extra time – would see Toronto emerge victorious.
“We know that if we win 1-0 then we’re going to go through, so I think we’re going to focus really well on the defensive side,” Whitecaps FC winger/striker Erik Hurtado told reporters. “And obviously we’re not going to try to stop at 1-0 and bunker in. We’re a team that wants to get at teams and we’re going to try to score as many goals as we can.”
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