By BOB MACKIN
- THE BUZZ
The Vancouver Whitecaps will meet the Montreal Impact in the United Soccer Leagues' First Division semifinal for the second time in three seasons. The Whitecaps were 4-3 losers to the host Minnesota Thunder yesterday, but won the quarterfinal series 5-4 on aggregate.
- SKINNY IN MINNY
The Whitecaps, who won the series opener 2-0 on Friday at home, led 3-1 on goals by Alfredo Valente (3rd minute), Martin Nash (44th) and Eduardo Sebrango (55th). Minnesota responded with three unanswered goals by Melvin Tarley (64th), Stephen de Roux (78th) and Freddie Moojen on a penalty kick (90+).
- SEEING RED
Minnesota played the final 13 minutes shorthanded after Ricardo Sanchez's ejection for dissent when it appeared Whitecaps' captain Jeff Clarke committed a handball to prevent a Thunder goal.
- BLUE ET BLANC
The Impact and defending champion Seattle Sounders split their series, but Montreal advanced with a 4-3 total. The second-place Whitecaps beat third-place Montreal twice and tied once in regular season. The two-game, total goals semifinal begins Friday at Swangard Stadium. Vancouver won its first USL title in 2006 after upsetting Montreal in the semifinal.