Carl's Keys to the game

Carl's Keys to the Game vs. FC Edmonton

1. Be mentally prepared

The Amway Canadian Championship is the first chance Whitecaps FC have of hoisting a trophy this season, which would go a long way to building that winning mentality. Vancouver’s head coach Martin Rennie has already indicated the importance of this match, as well as the upcoming run of matches, by managing players’ minutes to start the 2013 season. Through seven matches, Rennie has given starts to 19 players – at this point last season, 16 different players started a match for the ’Caps. However, the fact of the matter remains we are a Major League Soccer club facing a North American Soccer League second division side. This is what makes cup games magical; will the lower division teams rise to the challenge to upset the favourite? Rennie is very familiar with being on the other side and his coaching staff will be making sure the players are focused and ready for a tough two matches.

2. Intensity

FC Edmonton’s head coach Colin “Spikey” Miller was one of the most intense players I played with and when he sends out his team to face our ’Caps he will have them so wound up they will be ready to run through brick walls for him.  Spikey will be the first to admit that he did not possess the most skill but he made that up with hard work and a strong will. It will be a message he will be ingraining into his players that technically will have a hard time matching up with Vancouver so they must scrap and fight and unsettle the ’Caps for any advantage or break they can get. The one thing we cannot afford to do is be outworked by Edmonton, if we match their intensity then our quality has a good chance to be the difference in the game.

WATCH: Colin Miller named as new head coach of FC Edmonton in November 2012

3. Adapt to the conditions

This game will be played at Commonwealth Stadium, which seats over 60,000. This will be one of FC Edmonton largest crowds of the year but there are sure to be a few empty seats. The crowd will look to make as much noise as they can and get behind their team, but they will be lost in this big stadium and the atmosphere will be lost. Most players like to play in front of large crowds and lots of noise even on the road. The Caps will have look to create their own atmosphere and keep their energy levels up throughout the game. The forecast for game time is freezing weather and this could make the turf very slick and play differently. Footwear will be key and trying to forget how cold it is on the night are some of the steps towards getting a positive result in the first match of the 2013 Amway Canadian Championship.

WATCH: Whitecaps FC defeat FC Edmonton in 2012 ACC Semifinals Leg 1