Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nutrilite Championship Final: 2nd Leg Match Preview (Abandoned)



In the first leg Camilo was all over the pitch as he came close to scoring one for himself but hit a couple of posts, could not connect on a header from 1 foot out and should have earned a penalty.  After another week off the Caps hope he can find his touch around the net again.

With Gordon still unavailable due to injury Maicon Santos will be relied once again to provide the offense for TFC.  He displayed his touch in close around the net on TFC’s lone goal last week.  Santos did not start over the weekend as he came on as a sub with 30 minutes to go.


As there are few scoring option for TFC Jay DeMerit will have to mark Santos closely in addition to his duties organizing the backline.  Some of the blame for TFC’s goal has to applied on DeMerit as he lost position on Soolsma who set up Santos.

While many assumed Cann would be handling Hassli it was actually Dicoy Williams who was given the assignment and most likely it will be him marking the Frenchman.  The Jamaican defender arrived with TFC after the season began and has become a regular on the backline.


It seems that Vancouver’s designated player Eric Hassli likes to play against TFC as three of his four goals have been against their Canadian rivals this year.  In his last two matches Hassli has seemed to regain his early form and he will be counted on to create space for his teammates.

TFC’s goalkeeper, Stephane Frei, is the best player on their roster and if it wasn’t for him in the first leg the Caps could’ve had a two or three goal lead.  He was out of position on Hassli’s tally but overall he could be the difference in the second leg.


Last Game: 1-1 Draw vs Toronto FC

Last Game:  0-0 Draw at Colorado Rapids


With a week off and the way the team performed the Whitecaps will most likely go with a similar line up in the second leg.  Both Camilo and Hassli will start up front, as their chemistry seems to be improving, with Salgado and Khalfan available on the bench.  The central midfield will have Koffie and Dunfield combining with Chiumiento and Salinas on the wings.  There may be a chance that Teibert starts on the left with Chiumiento switching to the right and have Salinas come off the bench.  There is little doubt that Rochat and Leathers start at full back with DeMerit being partnered with either Akloul or Janicki in the middle and Jay Nolly in goal. 

TFC will remain with their 4-3-3 as Santos starts in the middle and is joined by Plata and Soolsma on the wings.  Martina may be an option for TFC off the bench.  The midfield will see De Guzman and Tchani joined by Stevanovich who will most likely take the place of the injured Peterson.  Williams and Cann should start in the middle with Eckersley and Yourassowsky on the outside of the backline and Frei in goal.


OUT:  FW Atiba Harris (knee), FW Long Tan (foot)
DOUBTFUL:  MF John Thorrington(calf)

OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (knee), MF Jacob Peterson (hamstring)
DOUBTFUL:  FW Alan Gordon (adductor), Gianluca Zavarise (adductor)
PROBABLE:  MF Tony Tchani (hamstring)




In normal circumstances the Whitecaps would be at a major disadvantage going into the second leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship as drew at Empire giving up an away goal.  However with Toronto FC having to play this weekend against the Colorado Rapids in the Rocky Mountains it may even the odds of who wins the Voyageur’s Cup.  While Toronto did get a result it was a hard fought effort where they competed a full 90 minutes in tough altitude of Colorado.

The Whitecaps will have to use this advantage to press TFC for not only an early goal but also to wear down their opponents.  The offense will again through the wings who will need to get the ball to Hassli and Camilo in order to get the early lead.  A scoreless match will give the Cup to TFC as they have the advantage of the away goal at this point so a goal is needed to even have a chance. 

Except for a couple of minutes the backline did a great job slowing down TFC’s wing play as well as controlling the central midfield.  If they can shut down the service to Santos it will increase their chances to win this match.  If Peterson is unable to go for the second leg it will definitely hurt TFC chances scoring on set pieces as the midfielder is their main taker of free kicks and corner kicks.

There is more pressure to win the Canadian title on the coaches and the organization than there is on the players.  The head office has constantly claimed they would like be one of the better football organizations in the world.  Winning the Nutrilite for the first time will give the Caps a birth into the Concacaf Champions League which will give the Caps a bigger stage to play on.  With chances at making the MLS playoffs fading the Voyaguer’s Cup may be the only silverware they lift this year.

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