VANCOUVER, BC – It’s do or die time for Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
After a 2-0 road loss to Ottawa Fury FC in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal, Whitecaps FC host the decisive return leg on Wednesday night at BC Place.
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The ‘Caps will need to win by at least three goals (or in a penalty shootout should Vancouver win 2-0 after extra time) to advance to the tournament final, which – if nothing else – should make for an intriguing and exciting affair.
“You act like it’s the start of the game but it’s really halftime,” Whitecaps FC defender Jordan Harvey said this week. “You’re two goals down and there are 90 minutes to make it up. We’re at home and I think we’re going to be gunning for them. It’s going to be a tough game.”
Click here to see all the different scenarios for Wednesday’s match and read on to learn more.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson fielded a young lineup in the first leg that included 15-year-old WFC2 midfielder Alphonso Davies, who looked lively as a second-half sub.
Following the match, Robinson spoke about the balance of developing young players and winning, but he said there would be changes for the second leg. With that in mind, the 'Caps have added midfielders Pedro Morales and Matias Laba, as well as goalkeeper David Ousted, to their Canadian Championship roster.
“[This week] it’s not about chances,” Robinson said following the first leg. “It’s about trying to claw back the two-goal deficit.”
At the same time, the ‘Caps know that one Fury goal could be costly with away goals serving as the tiebreaker. Should Ottawa score a goal on Wednesday, Whitecaps FC will need four.
“We have be careful that we don’t get caught on the break, but we’re here to win the game,” assistant coach Gordon Forrest told reporters. “We’re at home and we know we need to score so hopefully there will be a lot of positive play.”
OTTAWA FURY FC
The Fury, who suffered a 2-1 weekend loss against Tampa Bay Rowdies, were touting last Wednesday’s first leg as the biggest match in club history.
It showed on the pitch – and the ‘Caps are expecting much of the same on Wednesday.
They will also get a boost with the return of captain Julian de Guzman and defender/midfielder Marcel de Jong, who have returned from Canadian national team duty.
The Fury were founded in 2005, beginning play in the USL’s Premier Development League. In 2014, the team then made its debut in the North American Soccer League, which is classified as the second division of professional soccer in North America, where they compete today.
Last year, Ottawa won the NASL fall championship and reached the Soccer Bowl before falling to New York Cosmos in the postseason championship final.
Last Wednesday’s match was the first-ever meeting between the two clubs. Interestingly, former ‘Caps Jonny Steele and Paulo Junior provided the scoring.
There are actually several connections between the two sides. Notably, Fury FC assistant coach and assistant general manager Martin Nash (brother of 'Caps co-owner and former NBA star Steve Nash) spent 10 seasons with Vancouver at the second division level.
Harvey on Wednesday’s match: “It’s one that we circle in our calendars. It’s a competition we won last year and we want to defend. We don’t want to rest on our laurels. Just because we won last year it doesn’t mean we can take a break. We need to do better.”
WHAT IS THE AMWAY CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP?
The Amway Canadian Championship is a five-team tournament that crowns the top team in Canada. In addition to qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League, the winner also takes home the supporters-created Voyageurs Cup (which was first awarded in 2002).
Last year, the ‘Caps won their first-ever Voyageurs Cup after 13 years of heartbreak, defeating Montreal 4-2 on aggregate in the tournament final.
The ‘Caps return to MLS play next Saturday, June 18, when they host Gershon Koffie’s New England Revolution (4 p.m. PT on TSN1 – tickets still available). Should Whitecaps FC advance to the Amway Canadian Championship final, they will face either Toronto FC or Montreal Impact on June 21 or 22 on the road and on June 28 or 29 at BC Place.
Be a part of the best sporting atmosphere in Vancouver! Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket, and single match tickets. For more information, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.