By BOB MACKIN
- THE BUZZ: The first all-Canadian final in United Soccer Leagues' First Division history between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact could also be the second-tier circuit's last.
- SET-UP: The defending champion Caps are in their third final in four seasons. The two-game, total-goals affair starts tomorrow at Swangard Stadium (6:30 p.m., Team 1040/Fox Sports World Canada) and concludes Oct. 17 in Montreal. Eduardo Sebrango helped the Caps eliminate Montreal en route to the 2006 and 2008 finals. Now "Steady Eddie" is in Montreal.
- AT STAKE: Vancouver and Montreal are among eight teams unhappy after Nike sold USL to an Atlanta group. Impact owner Joey Saputo said a rival league is possible, but Caps president Bob Lenarduzzi hopes for a resolution. The Caps are already preparing their 2011 exit to Major League Soccer. The Impact want to follow.
- REVENGE: The seventh-place Caps upset Portland 5-4 on aggregate in the semifinal. The Impact beat the 2008 runner-up Puerto Rico Islanders 4-2 in their series. Vancouver wants revenge after the Impact lost 6-1 in July to Toronto FC and dashed Vancouver's bid to win the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.
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"A lot of people around the country question how Montreal went about that game, including many from within our club," Lenarduzzi said. "I'd be lying if I say it's not there. But it can't be the focus of our attention."
- CHUCK TALK: "I know those guys, I trained with those guys, I know their strengths, I know their weaknesses. I'm well placed to take advantage of that," said Montreal-raised Cap Charles Gbeke, who led the league with 12 goals in 2009.
- THOR THOUGHTS: "You don't have to win it in the first leg, you can do it in the second," said Caps' coach Teitur Thordarson. "If we have the advantage after the first leg, we have no problem supporting that defensive strategy as we have shown in the playoffs so far."