Can Toronto possibly beat Impact by 4 goals?
BY MARC WEBER
Mason Trafford said it will be weird to watch. Martin Nash might just look away.
The Vancouver Whitecaps are in Montreal for tonight's Nutrilite Canadian Championship finale between the Impact and Toronto FC (5 p.m., Sportsnet), two days ahead of the Caps' USL-1 clash against Montreal.
Anything less than a four-goal TFC victory and the Whitecaps earn the Voyageurs Cup, along with Canada's berth into the CONCACAF Champions League.
"I really want to watch, but it's going to be bizarre," said defender/midfielder Trafford, whose team finished Nutrilite play 3-1-0 with a plus-four goal differential. "It's going to be painful for the first half and hopefully as time goes on it'll be easier."
Nash said some players might not be able to stomach going to the game, and he didn't rule himself out of that category. If he is in attendance, he might not be focused on the field.
"I'm not sure where I fall, I guess I'll decide around game time," said the captain. "Some guys might just check the result after -- maybe it's too nerve-wracking."
The CONCACAF Champions League is technically a 24-team tournament between the best clubs in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, though only 16 teams participate in the group stage.
Should the Whitecaps win the Nutrilite tournament, they'd face USL-1 rival Puerto Rico Islanders in a Champions League preliminary-round matchup -- a home-and-home series for a spot in the group stage.
Adding to the intrigue tonight is the fact Montreal hosts Vancouver on Saturday in a USL-1 game that's now of far more importance to the Impact (0-3-0 in Nutrilite).
Montreal head coach Marc Dos Santos is not hiding from the fact that he'll rest some banged-up starters, such as central defenders Nevio Pizzolitto and Cédric Joqueviel. As well, former Whitecaps forward Eduardo Sebrango has returned to Cuba following the death of his father, Julio Rafael, who was battling cancer.
"It will be interesting to see who they put out," said Nash. "It's all a bunch of 'what ifs' right now, which isn't too comforting.
"Obviously Toronto is going to come with their best and really go for it, but I'd be shocked if Montreal lose to anyone by four."
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