BURNABY, B.C. - Toronto FC was three minutes away from a win Wednesday night when Vancouver Whitecap Eduardo Sebrango scored his second goal for a 2-2 tie at Swangard Stadium. It wasn't enough, however, to keep the host squad in the first Nutrilite Canadian Championship.
"At our place Vancouver were the better side," said Toronto coach John Carver. "I thought we were the better side in the second. Today I'm disappointed we've not won the game."
Major League Soccer's Toronto (1-1-1) needs a win July 22 when it hosts the Montreal Impact of the United Soccer Leagues' First Division (2-1). The Impact can advance with a draw to face Real Esteli of Nicaragua next month in the opening round of CONCACAF Champions League. Vancouver ended the three-team, home-and-home tournament 1-3. The USL squad's only win was July 1 in Toronto.
The Whitecaps led 1-0 at the half when Cuban-born striker Sebrango beat Toronto goalkeeper Greg Sutton from 12 yards in the 43rd minute. Justin Moose received his own rebound on a 20-yard blast and dished the ball to Sebrango.
Maurice Edu evened the score for Toronto in the 61st minute and Rohan Ricketts had the go-ahead marker in the 75th. Amado Guevara sent the ball from the penalty arc to Ricketts who beat Vancouver goalkeeper Jay Nolly on the short side.
"We didn't look as fresh as we usually do," said Whitecaps' coach Teitur Thordarson. "We showed great character coming from 2-1 at the end of the game."
Sebrango achieved the draw in the 87th minute when he outwitted Sutton near the top of the penalty area.
"It's disappointing being out of the tournament and we won't be able to represent Canada this year," said Whitecaps' captain Jeff Clarke. "But we'll be back at it next year."
GAME NOTES: Match referee Carol Ann Chenard is a former Canadian international short-track speedskater.... Edu, Major League Soccer's 2007 rookie of the year, will visit Electronic Arts' studio Thursday morning to appear in the EA Sports FIFA Soccer 09 video game.... The pre-game ceremony included a moment of silence to honour B.C. Lions' president Bob Ackles, who died last Sunday... Attendance was 5,288.