TORONTO - A war of words has emerged between Toronto FC coach John Carver and Vancouver Whitecaps coach Teitur Thordarson ahead of their crucial CONCACAF Champions League qualification match.
Carver said the Caps took liberties with his team's top players during the 1-0 Vancouver victory last week:
"Our flair players were eliminated as soon as they got in possession of the ball so I felt like we didn't get any protection [from the referee]".
The first-year Toronto coach wants the officials to handle the rematch in Burnaby differently:
"I just hope whoever the official is will be strong enough to deal with that and give us an opportunity to show teams what we can do."
Carver made the comments at his team's final training session. When word of Carver's criticism reached Vancouver later in the day, Thordarson hit back: "That's bull. He should just focus on his own way of playing.
"He [complained] all game through when we were playing there, and I can't stand it. We play a high-pressure game and I know they're not very comfortable with that. That's not our problem, that's their problem."
The Montreal Impact (2-1) sit atop the three-team group with two wins against Vancouver (1-2) and one home defeat by Toronto (1-1).
In the final round robin game, Montreal visits Toronto on July 22.
Toronto's without leading scorer Danny Dichio. The striker suffered a concussion against Vancouver. Defenders Olivier Tebily and Todd Dunivant sit out with ankle injuries.
GAME WITH AN EDGE
Whitecaps men vs. Toronto FC
Tonight, 7 p.m.
Radio: TEAM 1040; TV: GolTV
The Skinny: While still technically alive in the race for the CONCACAF Championship League berth, the Whitecaps are playing more for pride in this one, as back-to-back 2-0 losses to Montreal all but ended their hopes as goal differential is the first tiebreaker. They can make life miserable for Toronto with a win or tie, though, putting the Major League Soccer side in a must-win situation July 22 at home to the Impact.
Whitecaps notes: If they needed any extra incentive, Vancouver got it Saturday, losing 3-1 at bottom-feeding Rochester after scoring first. D Takashi Hirano, who injured an ankle at Toronto, is fully fit.
Toronto notes: Skipper Jim Brennan, his skipper is suspended and striker Danny Dichio is out with a suspected concussion. Fullbacks Olivier Tebily and Todd Dunivant both have ankle injuries.
© The Vancouver Province 2008