Goals: Eric Hassli 64', Maicon Santos 73'
Stupid headline: With the Impact out of the tournament, the obvious puns have been shelved. Instead, I'll link to the best match report I've read so far, from Marc Weber (The Province): Whitecaps dominant, but denied victory
Story in pictures
Davide Chiumiento and goal scorer Eric Hassli engage in a Vulcan mind meld (I had to look that up -- I've never seen an episode of Star Trek).
Three paragraph analysis
For the third competition week in a row, I was a bit distracted by another sporting event on another channel, though not as much as in previous weeks. The Canucks took care of business, and for the longest time it looked as though Vancouver was going to as well. The first half was a fairly even affair, but if, like in boxing, you had to give the round to one side it would have to have been the Whitecaps. They forced Stefan Frei into a few uncomfortable moments, and also surely were happy to see midfielders Tony Tchani and Jacob Peterson off injured. One of the replacements, Matt Gold, was almost the most invisible player on the pitch (tough for a ginger-headed bloke), second only to the much hyped, but in this match very useless, Joao Plata.
However, the real drama of the match came in the second half. It was 45 minutes of largely one-way traffic, a symphony of posts and corner kicks largely at the south end of the pitch. It opened with one of the most stone cold penalty claims you'll ever see (Cann chopping down Camilo) blithely ignored by referee Silvio Petrescu. It featured a clear back pass by miserable left back Dan Gargan picked up by Stefan Frei with no penalty awarded. It included a number of Vancouver shots striking the woodwork. It included a brilliant left-footed strike by Eric Hassli to put the Whitecaps up 1-0. But it was all undone by a seemingly innocuous ball from Nick Soolsma tapped in by Maicon Santos (I insist it was an own goal by Janicki as I've yet to see a replay showing Santos clearly striking the ball, but nobody else seems to think so).
Perhaps a microcosm of Vancouver's season, the game showed a Whitecaps team that was better by leaps and bounds on the night, but also one that couldn't pick up a result. If it reflects poorly on anyone, it is coach Teitur Thordarsson, who can't be happy that his team hasn't won at home since MLS first kick, and keeper Jay Nolly, who is competent enough but rarely makes the big save. The away goal puts Toronto FC firmly in the driver's seat, and it would require an epic collapse for them to fail to claim a third consecutive Voyageurs Cup. A 1-0 win would have been a near-perfect result for Vancouver, but now Toronto can go home and play for a 0-0 draw. I half expect them to start the match with 5 defenders, the same formation in which they finished the match yesterday.
Attendance check: 15,474. Toronto fans who would criticize this low-ish number need be reminded what it is like to live in a city where the NHL team is in the playoffs. It's been a while.
Canadian content report
Toronto boosted it's Canadian content due to the Tchani injury (replaced at half by youngster Oscar Cordon) while I wonder if Vancouver would have been better served with more Teibert and less Salinas.
|Julian de Guzman||90|
|VANCOUVER WHITECAPS |
|Terry Dunfield ||90|
|Russell Teibert ||7|
|Total Mins||97 |
The final leg of the final series. Toronto FC vs Vancouver Whitecaps at BMO. 8 pm et / 5 pm pt on Rogers Sportsnet.
The away goals rule will be in effect, including in extra time. Therefore:
- If either team wins outright over 90 minutes, they are champions.
- Toronto becomes champions with a 0-0 draw.
- Vancouver are winners with a goal scoring draw of 2-2 or higher.
- A 1-1 draw over 90 minutes takes the match to extra time. A scoreless extra time leads to penalties, but if teams score an equal number of goals, Vancouver win.