OTTAWA, ONT – For Vancouver Whitecaps FC to successfully defend their first-ever Voyageurs Cup, they’re going to need a big performance a week from today at BC Place.
A youthful ‘Caps side fell 2-0 to North American Soccer League club Ottawa Fury FC on Wednesday at TD Place Stadium in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal.
Former MLSers Jonny Steele and Paulo Junior provided the scoring for Fury FC in the first half.
- Robinson: "It's back to the drawing board"
- Davies: "We can't dwell on it"
- Teibert: "All we can do now is look forward to next week"
The ‘Caps will need to score at least two goals next Wednesday in the second leg in order to advance to the tournament final against Toronto FC or Montreal Impact. The team that scores more combined goals between the two matches will advance, with away goals serving as the tiebreaker.
In the lead-up to Wednesday’s match, Carl Robinson made no secret of his intention to field a younger group. And with three players away on international duty, three players injured, and many more itching for some first-team minutes, the ‘Caps manager lived up to his word.
Goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, 27, was the only player over 25 years old in the starting lineup.
Notably, six Canadians got the start, the most since Whitecaps FC joined MLS in 2011. Five of those Canadians came through Vancouver’s Residency program, including Vancouverite Ben McKendry. The 23-year-old midfielder was making his first-team debut for the club – as was 2016 MLS SuperDraft selection Cole Seiler at centre back.
Robinson knew it would be a big test against a more experienced Fury side who won the NASL fall championship in 2015 – and it certainly was.
In the third minute, Ottawa took the lead thanks to a brilliant, first-time strike from Steele at the top of the box. And they made it 2-0 just before halftime, when Paulo Junior banged in a rebound from inside the box after Tornaghi made a big save on the initial header.
The ‘Caps showed some signs of life in between, but couldn’t generate anything in the final third. It was a dream start for Ottawa, who were calling this the biggest match in their young history.
Vancouver had a few good chances to cut into Ottawa’s lead after the break.
In the 54th minute, Sam Adekugbe found Nicolas Mezquida in the box with a pinpoint cross from the left but the Uruguayan’s header was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Romuald Peiser.
The reigning NASL goalkeeper of the year came up big again in stoppage time, robbing substitute Octavio Rivero from close range. Rivero and substitutes Kekuta Manneh and Alphonso Davies injected some energy into the ‘Caps attack late, but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Davies, 15, became the youngest Whitecaps FC player to appear in a first team match and the youngest player to ever play in the Amway Canadian Championship. The Canadian youth international is on a short-term call-up from WFC2, the club’s United Soccer League team.
TFC STRIKES FIRST
In the other Amway Canadian Championship semifinal first leg, a young Toronto FC side secured a 4-2 home win over a full-strength Montreal Impact lineup that included the likes of Didier Drogba and Ignacio Piatti. Montreal’s Patrice Bernier was shown a red card just before halftime.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Sam Adekugbe
Referee: Yursi Rudolf
3’ – OTT – Jonny Steele (Carl Haworth)
41’ – OTT – Paulo Junior
Possession: Ottawa 44.4 %– Vancouver 55.6 %
Shots: Ottawa 10 – Vancouver 11
Shots on Goal: Ottawa 4 – Vancouver 3
Saves: Ottawa 3 – Vancouver 2
Fouls: Ottawa 14 – Vancouver 20
Offsides: Ottawa 1 – Vancouver 2
Corners: Ottawa 0 – Vancouver 4
16’ – OTT – Onua Obasi
63’ – OTT – Carl Haworth
90’ + 2’ – OTT – Mauro Eustaquio
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
70.Paolo Tornaghi; 8.Fraser Aird, 26.Tim Parker, 14.Cole Seiler, 3.Sam Adekugbe; 30.Ben McKendry (67.Alphonso Davies 72’), 31.Russell Teibert ©; 38.Kianz Froese, 11.Nicolás Mezquida (29.Octavio Rivero 58’), 32.Marco Bustos (23.Kekuta Manneh 58’); 19.Erik Hurtado
Substitutes not used
24.Marco Carducci, 2.Jordan Harvey, 6.Jordan Smith, 13.Cristian Techera
Ottawa Fury FC
1.Romuald Peiser; 25.Lance Rozeboom, 33.Rafael Alves ©, 77.Fernando (Timbo) Sanfelice, 14.Onua Obasi; 8.James Bailey (20.Mauro Eustaquio 60’), 11.Mozzi Gyori (9.Bryan Olivera 30’), 22.Jonny Steele; 17.Carl Haworth, 15.Dennis Chin (19.Kyle Porter 78’), 7.Paulo Junior
Substitutes not used
24.Marcel DeBellis, 12.Andrew MacRae, 23.Idan Vered
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