VANCOUVER, BC – Win and they’re in.
After playing to a 1-1 draw with FC Edmonton in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal, the ‘Caps are off to Edmonton for Wednesday’s decisive second leg at Clarke Field – two weeks after the originally scheduled match that mother nature rendered unplayable.
The team that scores more combined goals between the two legs will move on to face Montreal Impact in the final in August. That means if there’s a winner on Wednesday, they will advance regardless of the final score. Here are the remaining scenarios in the event of a draw.
"We need to score," said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. "It's simple. If we don't score, we're out ... we'll go with that mentality. Whether you score in the first minute or the 90th minute, you're still scoring. And we have to keep the back door shut."
Kickoff for Wednesday’s match is set for 7 p.m. PT at Clarke Field. You can watch the match live on Sportsnet ONE and Sportsnet World and listen in on TSN 1410 radio.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
'Caps come back to earn 1-1 draw in first leg of semifinal
For Whitecaps FC, the big question heading into Wednesday’s tilt is: how much does Robinson tweak his starting lineup?
Not one player who started last week’s first leg featured in the starting lineup on Saturday, when the ‘Caps fell 2-0 to Seattle Sounders FC at BC Place.
But Robinson will be forced to make at least three changes to his first leg lineup, as midfielder Deybi Flores has joined Honduras in advance of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, left back Sam Adekugbe is out with a right ankle sprain, and Robinson confirmed on Tuesday that Erik Hurtado picked up a niggle and will be unavailable as well. That is also the case for Robert Earnshaw, who was a second half sub in the first leg.
Whitecaps FC have never won the Voyageurs Cup. Last year, they fell to Toronto FC on penalties in a thrilling second leg semifinal – something they surely haven’t forgotten.
"I've won this Cup and it means a lot," Robinson told reporters. "You see what coverage Montreal got for going on a fantastic run ... and we've never won it. It's a competition we take seriously."
"We want to make history this year," added Canadian midfielder Russell Teibert. "And this is part of making history. We need to get a result."
FC Edmonton and the Amway Canadian Championship
FC Edmonton will also be looking to make history on Wednesday at Clarke Field.
The club has never appeared in an Amway Canadian Championship final, but they put themselves in a pretty good position last week by scoring an important away goal against the ‘Caps – in the fourth minute, no less.
English striker Tomi Ameobi provided the scoring for Edmonton and is now tied for the all-time Amway Canadian Championship scoring lead with four goals (including three this year) – as is his Eddies teammate Daryl Fordyce, who notched a brace for the Eddies in a 3-2 weekend loss to San Antonio Scorpions.
Scoring has not been a problem for Edmonton – they co-lead the NASL with 11 goals. It’s on the defensive end where they’ve struggled, conceding seven goals in their last two league matches.
FC Edmonton head coach Colin Miller left a number of his regulars out of the starting lineup against the Scorpions, including Ameobi and wingers Lance Laing and Sainey Nyassi, with an eye towards Wednesday’s match.
In last year’s Canadian Championship semifinal, Edmonton fell 5-4 to Montreal on aggregate after the Impact scored a stoppage-time penalty kick in the decisive second leg.
In addition to claiming the Voyageurs Cup, the 2015 Canadian champion will earn Canada’s lone entry into the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) – an annual 24-team competition between the top clubs from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Montreal Impact, who won last year’s Canadian Championship, represented Canada in the most recent CCL and made it all the way to the final before falling to Club América in front of a crowd of 61,004 at the Olympic Stadium. With four titles, Toronto FC are the most successful team in the competition – followed by Montreal with three.
What a difference two weeks makes. Here’s a look at the forecast for Wednesday in Edmonton.
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