Sebastien Le Toux celebration ACC FC Edmonton BC Place
Bob Frid

Whitecaps FC advance to ACC final after seeing off FC Edmonton

VANCOUVER, BC - In the second leg of their 2012 Amway Canadian Championship semifinal, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-0L-0D in ACC) defeated North American Soccer League (NASL) side FC Edmonton (0W-2L-0D in ACC) 3-1 on Wednesday evening to advance to the final 5-1 on aggregate.

Despite falling behind to an early second-half goal from FC Edmonton’s Yashir Pinto on Bell Pitch at BC Place, Whitecaps FC secured their spot in the two-leg final with three goals from two substitutes in the last quarter-hour of the match, with Davide Chiumiento assisting on all three goals. Sebastien Le Toux scored the first two before youngster Darren Mattocks ensured a fifth-straight victory in all competitions for Vancouver with his first goal as a professional.

Victory for the Blue and White takes them into the ACC final for a second year in a row, where they will again face Major League Soccer rivals Toronto FC over two legs for the Voyageurs Cup title. The ‘Caps will host TFC at BC Place next Wednesday night, May 16, before playing the decisive second leg at Toronto’s BMO Field on Wednesday, May 23.

“I’m happy to get our fifth win in a row and to get ourselves into a final,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “I thought the way we finished the game was excellent. It was good to get Mattocks and Etienne into the game after they both have been out with long injuries. I thought they contributed a lot, as did Sebastien. It’s nice for us to be in the final of the competition and it’s obviously a significant moment in the club’s history.”

Rennie made four changes to the side that started last Wednesday’s first leg at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium. Captain Jay DeMerit and Camilo Sanvezzo earned starts for the home side, while Floyd Franks made his first competitive start for Whitecaps FC in midfield. There was also a first start of 2012 for youngster Michael Nanchoff in the three-player attack.

With the BC Place roof open for the second leg, the ‘Caps wore their all ‘deep sea’ blue kit for the match, while Edmonton dawned their all-white strip. The first half saw an impressive display from Edmonton, who had plenty of possession and the better goalscoring opportunities, despite Whitecaps FC actually getting the ball into the back of the net first on three minutes. However, Nanchoff’s finish was ruled out for offside.

Looking to get back in the series, the NASL club worked hard to get forward and create chances. The best chance of the half fell to Edmonton youngster Michael Cox, who forced a great point-blank save from Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brad Knighton on 19 minutes before Lam brought a fine diving save out of Knighton on 27 minutes.

While their attacking play did not flow as well as planned, Whitecaps FC had a couple of chances from Camilo. The Brazilian’s best effort was on a free kick near the Edmonton box, but his set-piece was just off target on 34 minutes. It meant both sides went to halftime goalless, with the ‘Caps still two goals up on aggregate.

That aggregate lead was cut in half by the game’s opening goal on 54 minutes, as Edmonton shocked the 15,011 in attendance at BC Place by taking the lead. A fine cross from former Whitecaps FC Residency product Antonio Rago found Pinto in the Vancouver six-yard box. After getting in between two ‘Caps defenders, the Chilean striker headed home FC Edmonton’s first-ever goal versus Whitecaps FC to make it 2-1 on aggregate to Vancouver.

The goal made for some nervy moments from the MLS club, but it was in the latter stages of the game that Rennie used his three substitutes to positive effect. Etienne Barbara made his competitive debut when he came on, while Le Toux swung the game back in Vancouver’s favour shortly after his introduction. The Frenchman levelled matters on 75 minutes when he took a cross-field ball from Chiumiento before beating Eddies defender Fabien Vorbe and slotting his finish past Edmonton goalkeeper David Monsalve for a 3-1 aggregate lead.

On 87 minutes, Barbara had a chance to open his ‘Caps account from the penalty spot after being taken down in the visitors’ box by Eddies centre back Paul Hamilton. The Maltese international took the spot kick, but Monsalve came well off his goal line to deflect the shot on to his own post and away to safety. It was only a temporary reprieve for Edmonton, as Le Toux scored his fifth goal of the season in all competitions when he headed home Chiumiento’s well-played free kick at the near post for a 2-1 lead and a 4-1 aggregate advantage.

Whitecaps FC’s final goal came in the third minute of stoppage time, as Mattocks struck home Chiumiento’s byline cutback for his first competitive goal in professional soccer to seal a 3-1 win on the night and a 5-1 aggregate victory.

Whitecaps FC move on to the two-leg ACC final, where three-time Voyageurs Cup winners Toronto FC await Rennie’s squad. The Reds got back to winning ways on Wednesday night with a decisive 2-0 home win over MLS rivals Montreal Impact for a 2-0 aggregate success (report link below).

Budweiser Man of the Match: Sebastien Le Toux

Scoring Summary:
54' - EDM - Yashir Pinto (Antonio Rago)
75' - VAN - Sebastien Le Toux (Davide Chiumiento)
87' - VAN - Sebastien Le Toux (Davide Chiumiento)
90+3’ - VAN - Darren Mattocks (Davide Chiumiento)

Match Stats:
Shots: Vancouver 13 - Edmonton 10
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 5 - Edmonton 5
Saves: Vancouver 4 - Edmonton 2
Fouls: Vancouver 8 - Edmonton 10
Offsides: Vancouver 6 - Edmonton 0
Corners: Vancouver 5 - Edmonton 5

33' - EDM - Fabien Vorbe
41' - EDM - Paul Hamilton
42' - VAN - John Thorrington
44' - EDM - Michael Cox
51' - EDM - Chris Kooy

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Brad Knighton; 32.Greg Klazura, 19.Carlyle Mitchell, 6.Jay DeMerit, 3.Jordan Harvey; 26.Floyd Franks, 11.John Thorrington, 20.Davide Chiumiento; 13.Michael Nanchoff (7.Sebastien Le Toux 70'), 29.Eric Hassli (22.Darren Mattocks 74'), 37.Camilo Sanvezzo (8.Etienne Barbara 85')

Substitutes not used: 1.Joe Cannon, 2.Michael Boxall, 31.Russell Teibert, 36.Bryce Alderson

FC Edmonton
22.David Monsalve; 24.Antonio Rago, 18.Paul Hamilton, 5.Kevin Hatchi, 27.Fabien Vorbe; 6.Shaun Saiko (8.Ilja Van Leerdam 77'), 16.Kenny Caceros, 20.Chris Kooy; 9.Michael Cox (19.Kyle Porter 55'), 11.Matt Lam, 29.Yashir Pinto (14.Paul Craig 81')

Substitutes not used: 23.John Smits, 3.Adam West, 13.Jonathan Joseph Augustin, 21.Dominic Oppong