BY MARC WEBER
Vancouver Whitecaps players and staff stood stunned on the sideline as Toronto FC raised the Voyageurs Cup on Thursday night in Montreal.
Along with the silverware for winning the Nutrilite Canadian Championship comes a coveted berth into the CONCACAF Champions League.
All the Whitecaps needed for glory was Montreal to not lose by four or more goals. They lost by five -- after leading 1-0.
That the Impact rested a handful of starters in the 6-1 loss left Whitecaps head coach Teitur Thordarson in a rancorous mood.
"The way they approached this match is a problem," he said. "My opinion is you approach basically all games in a professional way. I do that every game because I feel it's important for me and my team.
"We played a Nutrilite game against Toronto last year that meant nothing to us, we were out of the tournament, but we drew them at home 2-2."
That result helped Montreal win the inaugural competition, but there was no return favour Thursday.
His team already eliminated at 0-3-0, Impact head coach Marc Dos Santos kept no secrets this week about sitting some key players in anticipation of Saturday's USL-1 clash with Vancouver.
Among the missing -- most listed as injured -- were his two starting centre backs, midfielder Sandro Grande and goalkeeper Matt Jordan.
Thordarson was left to watch an inspired and deadly accurate Toronto side pump six goals past backup Srdjan Djekanovic, whom he released last season.
Tony Donatelli opened the scoring for Montreal on a penalty kick in the 24th minute, but Canadian international Dwayne De Rosario, playing like a man possessed, replied with a hat trick for TFC inside 50 minutes.
Vancouver's worst fears were realized when Chad Barrett -- who couldn't put a ball into the ocean against the Whitecaps -- headed in a corner in the 81st to make it 5-1.
"Guys are obviously upset," said Whitecaps captain Martin Nash, whose side posted a 3-1-0 Nutrilite record. "It's a tough pill to swallow but we've got to get on with the league, which is the more important thing now."
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