VANCOUVER, BC - Whitecaps FC and Montreal Impact meet again on Wednesday evening just three nights removed from a testy and physical affair that saw a combined 34 fouls and two ejections at BC Place over the weekend.
READY FOR BATTLE
"It's going to be a battle," said 'Caps right back Jake Nerwinski. "There's definitely going to be an edge to it again and honestly I welcome that. I'm ready to go."
Adding to the stakes is what is on the line for Montreal - a win for sends them to the 2020 Canadian Championship Final against the Canadian Premier League Island Games winner.
"We know they're going to come out firing and we want to play spoiler," said Nerwinski. "We want to make sure we’re defensively sound especially when we're playing at home,” says Nerwinski. “This is (possibly) going to be our last game at BC Place this year, and I hope that we can come and make it hard for them to score and hopefully get the three points.”
Head coach Marc Dos Santos stressed the importance of channeling their emotions toward the game and not towards their individual Impact counterparts.
"I want to see the same type of emotion, but on the play, the same type of emotion on the ball," stressed Dos Santos. "Bring that emotion in the right way, bring that emotion on the ball, bring that emotion on the field, on how we defend and on how we want to create. We have to play with emotion but on the ball and on how we want to win the game.”
Dos Santos also addressed his star striker Lucas Cavallini, who was ejected following two yellow cards in last Sunday's match.
"We dealt with it the right way, Cava dealt with it the right way," said Dos Santos about Cavallini, who issued an apology to his team and his fans on Tuesday.
With the club missing Cavallini's services on Wednesday, the 'Caps will rely on a variety of options for their attack.
"Theo, Dajome, Milinkovic, Yordy, Fredy, Ryan Raposo - there is a lot of options. Ricketts is also an option, he will be on the bench tomorrow," shared Dos Santos.
For the 'Caps to win on Wednesday, it may take another full-team effort similar to their last win against Toronto FC on September 5, and the team is hoping their locker room chemistry translates to on-field success.
"It's been a difficult season for many different reasons, it's easy for guys to get lost and not be together but the one thing we've done well is have a good locker room to keep pushing forward," said Nerwinski. "We're not dwelling on the past results, we're not giving up on the season. We have this togetherness and if we put that together on the field, we can be very successful going forward."
The urgency of the upcoming slate is not lost among the 'Caps but they also know how things could turn in an instant.
"Maybe it's a bit crazy to talk playoffs but if you win two games in this league, you are up [in the standings]," said winger David Milinkovic.
"We feel we could count on everyone. It's my job to have them mesh now. I have to take it all on me in the sense of I have to protect my players, I have to be the one that takes the bullets, and the one that says how much I believe in them," said Dos Santos. "I have a lot of confidence going into the game (versus Montreal)."
Catch the 'Caps take on Montreal Impact on Wednesday. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. PT live on TSN1/5 and TSN Radio 1040.