Series will kick off in Montreal - The Province

The Vancouver Whitecaps will open their USL-1 semifinal series against the Montreal Impact on the road. After the Caps' 5-4 aggregate win over the Minnesota Thunder on Sunday night, head coach Teitur Thordarson said the club was leaning toward opening at home, like they did against the Thunder. The tune changed late Sunday night after a team meeting. "After thinking about it, we decided to do it the other way," he said. "Montreal has to travel far [the Impact play a CONCACAF Champions League game in Honduras on Wednesday] anyway, and we can be [in Montreal] and prepare in a good way. "We might even get an advantage off it. And I've always felt that it's a good thing to play the second game at home, in terms of extra time and PKs." Vancouver's near-collapse Sunday in Minnesota -- where they lost the battle 4-3 after leading 3-1, but didn't lose the war -- might have further influenced the decision to get that second game at home. It's hard to see, though, how playing in such a timid environment, in front of an announced crowd of 3,811 that was more like 2,500, played a role in the momentum swing. As defender Jeff Clarke pointed out, that better not have affected them. "Compared to Minnesota, we're about to walk into a lion's den," he said of Montreal's Saputo Stadium. More than 11,000 packed in on Sunday to see the Impact pull out its quarterfinal series against the Seattle Sounders. Big defender Adam Braz was red-carded in that game and is suspended for Friday's clash with the Caps. mweber@theprovince.com UNITED SOCCER LEAGUES First Division semifinal Whitecaps vs. Montreal Impact First leg: Friday, 5 p.m. PST, Saputo Stadium, Montreal; web radio: team990.com; Web TV: USLlive.com Second leg: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. PST, Swangard Stadium; radio: TEAM 1040 AM; TV: Fox Sports World Canada © The Vancouver Province 2008

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