After last week’s stuttering semfinal first leg at BC Place, the ‘Caps are set for a crucial trip to Edmonton tonight to decide who progresses to the final of this year’s Amway Canadian Championship.
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. PT at Clarke Field TV: Sportsnet ONE/World RADIO: TSN 1410
The ‘Caps left it late last week at BC Place with Gershon Koffie rescuing a dramatic 1-1 draw for the boys in Blue and White in the 87th minute. The Ghanaian, whose giveaway had helped FC Edmonton to take the lead during the early exchanges, exhibited the kind of fighting spirit that Carl Robinson’s team will have to exhibit when they return to face FC Edmonton this week.
Though the sides shared the spoils first time out, FC Edmonton’s away goal gives the home team the advantage going into tonight’s decisive semifinal second leg. That means the ‘Caps have to score if they are going to stand a chance of progressing to this August’s final against Montreal Impact. It’s going to be a tough test, but it’s one that Robinson’s team will be ready for.
"It's an important game for us, make no bones about it it's a game we need to win;" Robinson told reporters at training on Tuesday. "We've got to go and try and beat them, but we know it's going to be difficult."
This isn’t the side’s first trip to Edmonton this May. Indeed Robbo and co. made the trip north to earlier this month, only to hop on a plane and fly straight back again after a freak snowstorm meant that their match at Clarke Field had to be postponed.
It was a strange situation for the squad, especially the likes of Cristian Techera and Deybi Flores who had never seen snow before. However, there will be no such troubles this Wednesday with a balmy 21-Celsius forecasted for Wednesday night’s match.
That’s undoubtedly good news for the boys and not just because of the fact they won’t have to pack their snow boots for the short trip north. After all, Robbo’s team likes to get the ball down and play, a possession-orientated game plan that’s altogether easier to accomplish with sunny skies and a dry pitch.
Both teams will go into tonight’s encounter with semifinal heartbreak still fresh in their respective memories.
For the ‘Caps, it will be nightmares of their 2014 clash at BC Place where the hometown team succumbed to Toronto FC on penalties. Kekuta Manneh, Christian Dean and Nicolas Mezquida were among the starters that night and with all three expected to be involved in some capacity this week, they’ll no doubt be looking to avoid the same pain that ended their last Amway adventure.
The Eddies are no strangers to spot kick suffering either. Like the ‘Caps, their campaign ended in anguish last time out after an injury time penalty from Montreal Impact’s Patrice Bernier ended their hopes of making the finals.
It’s a fate that both camps will be looking to avoid this time around. And with both the Voyageurs Cup and Canada’s lone entry into the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) up for grabs, there's no shortage of motivation for both teams to book their place in August’s final tonight.
"We don't want to lose this game," Robinson stated on Tuesday. "It's a very important game to us as a team and group as well as the club."
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