VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS RS 2W-3L-3D - ACC 1-0-0) take on North American Soccer League (NASL) outfit FC Edmonton (NASL RS 1W-2L-1D - ACC 0-1-0) in the second leg of their Amway Canadian Championship (ACC) semifinal on Wednesday evening at BC Place. Vancouver hold a 3-2 lead from the first leg as they look to progress to the final.
Wednesday's match between Whitecaps FC and FC Edmonton kicks off at 7 p.m. PT and is live on Sportsnet and Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to Wednesday evening’s match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 5 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match.
WATCH: WHITECAPS FC WIN 1ST LEG 3-2 IN EDMONTON
Last week’s 3-2 victory in Alberta set Whitecaps FC on course to return to the ACC final for the third successive year since the tournament switched to a knockout format. The team with the best score on aggregate (combined score from the two games) will progress with away goals acting as the tiebreaker if the aggregate scores are even. If the sides still cannot be separated there will be two 15-minute halves of extra time followed by a penalty shootout if the deadlock is not broken.
WATCH: 'Caps prepare for 2nd leg at BC Place
After a morale boosting comeback in the 2-2 draw against FC Dallas at the weekend, Whitecaps FC now face FC Edmonton for the second time in seven days. Fighting back from two goals down last Saturday to grab a deserved point, Vancouver will want to carry that performance into the match with the Eddies. Rookie Kekuta Manneh played a huge role in the result, scoring the first goal and assisting on the second after coming on as a 54th minute substitute.
The prize on offer tonight is a place in the ACC final against either Toronto FC or Montreal Impact. Vancouver hold a 3-2 lead and a positive result at BC Place will ensure safe passage through to a fifth successive final. TFC lead Montreal 2-0 in the other semifinal with that series' second leg due to kick off at 4:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday at Stade Saputo.
Six players who started the match against FC Dallas had also started against FC Edmonton last week. Coach Martin Rennie may want to rotate the squad again with another MLS match away at Real Salt Lake coming up this Saturday.
Last week’s loss at the hands of Vancouver extended FC Edmonton’s winless start to the season to four matches, but the Eddies broke their duck under new coach Colin Miller to record their first win of the season by beating San Antonio Scorpions 1-0 at Clarke Stadium on Saturday.
Miller, a former 'Caps assistant coach, will not be on the sidelines for the Eddies on Wednesday after being ejected for arguing with the referee late in the first leg.
Edmonton’s roster features several familiar faces. Centre back Carlyle Mitchell recently went on loan from Whitecaps FC, while defender Wes Knight played in Vancouver from 2009 until 2011, including a substitute appearance and assist in the ‘Caps inaugural MLS match against Toronto FC in 2011. Neither player will feature for the Eddies as Mitchell is ineligible to play against his parent club and Knight is ruled out with a foot injury.
The Alberta outfit have also benefited from the Whitecaps FC Residency program with striker Sadi Jalali returning to FC Edmonton after spending time in the 'Caps Residency program last year, and defender Antonio Rago having developed from the Residency program as well. In terms of personal connections, ‘Caps midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker grew up with Edmonton midfielder Chris Nurse in England, while Martin Rennie coached Nurse at Carolina RailHawks.
AMWAY CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
The Amway Canadian Championship follows a four-team format with Whitecaps FC, Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and FC Edmonton battling it out for both the Voyageurs Cup and the right to represent Canada in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League.
Teams take part in a two-legged home-and-away semifinal series with the winners repeating the process in the final, meaning that should Vancouver progress they would face either Toronto FC or Montreal Impact for the chance to claim a first ever ACC title for the ‘Caps.
Whitecaps FC beat their neighbors from Alberta 3-2 in last week’s first leg at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. The win took Vancouver’s all-time record against FC Edmonton to 3W-0L-0D.
Last season’s semifinal series in the ACC was the first time that Vancouver Whitecaps FC had taken on FC Edmonton and after an impressive 2-0 win in Edmonton, Whitecaps FC secured their passage through to the final with three late goals in a 3-1 victory at BC Place.
Although these were the first matches Whitecaps FC had ever played against the Eddies, Vancouver have previously played teams from the city of Edmonton and from the province of Alberta. Dating back to 1979, Whitecaps FC played teams from Edmonton 37 times and clubs from Alberta 65 times. This included 11 meetings versus Edmonton Drillers in the old NASL between 1979 and 1982, with the ‘Caps registering an 8W-3L record overall and a perfect 5W-0L record versus the Drillers in Vancouver. During the Canadian Soccer League era, Vancouver registered a 19W-1L-1D overall record versus Edmonton Brick Men, including a home record of 10W-0L-1D between 1987 and 1990. In the United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) season of 2004, Whitecaps FC registered a 2W-1L-1D record versus Edmonton Aviators, including a 0W-1L-1D home record that year. In fact, the last time Whitecaps FC hosted a club from Edmonton was in USL-1 on July 4, 2004, as the Aviators defeated Vancouver 3-2 at Swangard Stadium. In all, Whitecaps FC have a 30W-5L-2D all-time record against clubs from Edmonton, including an overall home record of 15W-1L-2D.
Following the conclusion of the ACC semifinal second leg against FC Edmonton, Whitecaps FC will head to Utah to take on MLS Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake. Kickoff for Saturday’s match at Rio Tinto Stadium is 6 p.m. PT.