KISSIMMEE, FL - On the final weekend of preseason action, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4W-0L-0D) defeated Canadian rivals Toronto FC (2W-1L-1D) 1-0 in Saturday’s championship final at the 2012 Disney Pro Soccer Classic.
Camilo Sanvezzo’s early goal stood up as the match winner on a warm evening at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. Though they created further chances in the game, the Blue and White were made to battle for the win against a young and energetic TFC side. The result took Whitecaps FC’s preseason record to 5W-0L-2D, with Martin Rennie’s squad set to conclude their preseason schedule with a friendly at North American Soccer League club Carolina RailHawks on Sunday afternoon.
“It feels good to win this tournament,” Rennie said after the match. “We were looking for a little bit more from our performance tonight, but over the course of the tournament, we have performed very well. Tonight was about getting over the end of the finish line after a long preseason and I’m very happy we have something to show for our efforts over the last few weeks. Obviously, we would be more excited about winning trophies during the regular season, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and we’re delighted we started here.”
With MLS First Kick at BC Place now a week away, Rennie played an experienced line-up in a 4-4-2 formation versus The Reds. This included Eric Hassli and top Major League Soccer SuperDraft pick Darren Mattocks leading the attack line for the ‘Caps. Led by assistant coach and former Canadian international Jason Bent, TFC played a younger line-up that included members of the club’s academy and trialists, as TFC opted to rest many of their experienced players ahead of Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, first leg, versus MLS rivals LA Galaxy at Toronto’s Rogers Arena.
Having put in some impressive performances in the group stage of the tournament, Whitecaps FC looked to build on the efforts they put in over the past two weeks in Florida with another positive display in Saturday’s final. They made the best possible start by taking the lead on 10 minutes through the opportunistic Camilo. The Brazilian did well to take advantage of a TFC turnover, eluding a couple of challenges and rounding Reds goalkeeper Quillan Roberts before scoring from a very tight angle to make it 1-0.
Having claimed an early lead, Whitecaps FC looked dangerous when they got forward in the first half. Mattocks drew a good save from Roberts on 21 minutes after Atiba Harris did well to control a high ball on the edge of the TFC box and find his fellow Caribbean teammate with a neat pass. Two minutes later, some clever play from Hassli saw the big Frenchman lob a shot over Roberts’ head. His effort, however, also flew over the Toronto FC crossbar.
Harris and Gershon Koffie had further chances for Whitecaps FC before the break, while TFC had to wait until the 44th minute to test ‘Caps goalkeeper Joe Cannon after Reds striker Keith Makubuya had a close-range opportunity. It meant that Vancouver had a one-goal lead at halftime.
The second half saw Whitecaps FC create further chances against a TFC side that grew in confidence after the break. Mattocks had three efforts following the restart, with the Jamaican’s best opportunity coming on 50 minutes when he struck the TFC side-netting after taking another pass from Harris.
Instead, it was the Southern Ontario outfit that threatened an equalizer just after the hour mark. Cannon made an important save from TFC’s Efrain Burgos Jr. before Moises Orozco put a dangerous effort over the Whitecaps FC crossbar from the same sequence on 63 minutes.
As spirited as Toronto FC were in the second 45 minutes, Vancouver went close to a second goal in the latter stages. Koffie and Jun Marques Davidson were just off-target with strikes, while Roberts denied Mattocks again at close range on 86 minutes. Two minutes later, substitute Omar Salgado - who was making his tournament debut after recently completing a training camp with the United States U-20 national team - nearly caught Roberts out of his goal with an ambitious long-range shot after winning possession in the TFC half.
The final whistle confirmed this year’s tournament title to Whitecaps FC, with Rennie’s side earning the silverware. Focus will now turn to Sunday and Vancouver’s final game of preseason in Cary, North Carolina, as the ‘Caps meet Rennie’s former club in the RailHawks in the fourth annual Hilton Garden Inn Durham Southpoint Community Shield Match at WakeMed Soccer Park. Kickoff is at 12 p.m. PT.
10' - VAN - Camilo Sanvezzo
2' - TOR - Keith Makubuya
25' - VAN - Darren Mattocks
87' - VAN - Russell Teibert
90' - TOR - Efrian Burgos Jr.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee 15.Martin Bonjour, 6.Jay DeMerit, 4.Alain Rochat; 9.Atiba Harris (17.Omar Salgado 71'), 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 28.Gershon Koffie, 37.Camilo Sanvezzo; 22.Darren Mattocks, 29.Eric Hassli (31.Russell Teibert 54')
Subs not used: 39.Callum Irving, 30.Bilal Duckett, 36.Bryce Alderson
41.Quillan Roberts; 32.Michael Green, 35.Jay Chapman, 42.Kevin Huezo, 44.Logan Emory; 8.Eric Avila (38.Sergio Camargo 76'), 16.Oscar Cordon, 33.Efrian Burgos Jr.; 13.Keith Makubuya, 18.Nick Soolsma, 43.Moises Orozco