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Preview: Vancouver, Montreal set to reboot rivalry in MLS

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC vs MONTREAL IMPACT
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
March 10, 2012 (WEEK 1, MLS Game #2)
3 p.m. PT (TSN/RDS)

Another Canadian rivalry kicks off for the first time in MLS when the league's 19th team, the Montréal Impact, make their bow against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Whitecaps FC are coming off their expansion season with optimism after a successful preseason. The Impact have been steadily building toward their MLS opener as well; the teams have been facing each other in lower divisions for nearly two decades.

REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Peter Manikowski; JAR (opposite): Craig Lowry; 4th: Chris Penso
MLS Career: 143 games; FC/gm: 26.9; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 42; pens: 54

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INJURY REPORT:

  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC -- OUT: FW Etienne Barbara (groin strain); GK Brian Sylvestre (R knee surgery); MF John Thorrington (L quad strain); DOUBTFUL: FW Atiba Harris (L knee pain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Floyd Franks (lower back pain); PROBABLE: MF Michael Nanchoff (L heel contusion); MF Russell Teibert (L groin pain); FW Eric Hassli (L knee pain)
  • MONTREAL IMPACT -- OUT: DF Gienir Garcia (L ankle sprain); Nelson Rivas (L hamstring sprain); MF Sinisa Ubiparipovic (MCL); DF Evan James (high ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Davy Arnaud (L thigh contusion); PROBABLE: FW Justin Braun (R ankle sprain); FW Mike Fucito (R ankle sprain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (MLS): First meeting

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The clubs could meet twice more in the Canadian Championship, if they advance to the two-leg final (to be played May 16 and 23). Vancouver will take on FC Edmonton in the first round; the Impact will face Toronto FC.
  • The teams have a rich 20-year rivalry from their days in the A-League, USL First Division and NASL. Teams from Vancouver and Montréal also met for five years in the Canadian Soccer League – and from 1981-83, when the Montréal Manic and Vancouver Whitecaps played in the old North American Soccer League.
  • Coaches record: Jesse Marsch vs. VAN: first game … Martin Rennie vs. MTL: first game

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC kick off their second season in Major League Soccer looking to begin as they did their first - a 4-2 win against Toronto FC at Empire Field in the first all-Canadian match in league history. Whitecaps FC concluded their inaugural campaign in ninth place in the Western Conference, tied with New England with the fewest points in MLS.

  • Whitecaps FC did not lose a game in regulation over the entirety of the preseason. They claimed the Disney Pro Soccer Challenge by winning all four matches, defeating Toronto FC 1-0 in the finale. Camilo scored the game's lone goal after 10 minutes.
  • Here's the Vancouver team: Joe Cannon - Alain Rochat, Jay DeMerit, Martin Bonjour, Young-Pyo Lee - Camilo Sanvezzo, Jun Marques Davidson, Gershon Koffie, Atiba Harris (71' Omar Salgado) - Darren Mattocks, Eric Hassli (54' Russell Teibert)
  • "Guys didn't work hard enough, but hopefully that's a blessing in disguise," captain Jay DeMerit said. "I'd rather have it this week than [First Kick vs. Montreal Impact]. But take the positives away from it: It's still a win. Still kept a clean sheet. But ultimately still a lot of work to do."
  • Whitecaps FC did not concede a goal in their four victories, which included a 3-0 win against First Kick foe Montréal and all of which came against MLS opposition.
  • "We didn't play as well tonight as we had been in the other games in this tournament and most of preseason. But sometimes it's a good sign if you're not playing well and still win," said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie.
  • On their way back to British Columbia, Whitecaps FC played a final preseason match against the NASL's Carolina RailHawks. The teams played to a 2-2 draw over 90 minutes before Carolina won in a penalty shootout.
  • Here's the Vancouver team: Brad Knighton; Greg Klazura, Michael Boxall, Carlyle Mitchell, Jordan Harvey; Russell Teibert (Omar Salgado 72'), Matt Watson, Bryce Alderson, Davide Chiumiento; Sebastien Le Toux, Long Tan
  • Just before the start of the season, Whitecaps FC made another key pickup in former Chicago Fire midfielder Floyd Franks, who played for Rennie for two seasons with the NASL Carolina RailHawks.
  • "He can be a defensive midfielder, he can be a box-to-box kind of midfielder and he can play fullback as well," Rennie said. "He's a guy with a lot of attributes and a guy who can bring a lot of desire and determination every time he steps on there and we always need that."
  • Darren Mattocks, the No. 2 overall selection in this year's MLS SuperDraft, has impressed throughout training camp, scoring a goal in the victory against Montréal - who passed on him with the first overall pick in favor of Andrew Wenger.
  • "He reminds me a lot of Jeff Cunningham," said Atiba Harris said. "He could do a lot of great things in this league, even this season. When we go to stadiums with bigger fields, I think he's going to cause a lot of trouble.

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS

  • IN: M Bryce Alderson (11/17: Homegrown), D Lee Young-Pyo (12/7: free); M/F Lee Nguyen (12/15: weighted lottery); M Matt Watson (12/16: free/Carolina); D Martin Bonjour (1/6: free/Rampla Juniors); F Darren Mattocks (1/12: SuperDraft); G Brad Knighton (1/17: Carolina); D/M Greg Klazura (1/17: supplemental draft); M Jun Marques Davidson (1/19: free); F Sébastien Le Toux (1/30: trade from Philadelphia); M Barry Robson (2/16: free/Middlesbrough, arriving in July); F Etienne Barbara (2/28: free/rights acquired from Montreal on 1/17); M Floyd Franks (3/6: free)
  • OUT: D Jeb Brovsky (11/23: expansion draft); D Bilal Duckett (11/23: waived); M Nizar Khalfan (11/23: waived); M Alexandre Morfaw (11/23: waived); M Shea Salinas (11/30: trade to San Jose); D Greg Janicki (11/30: option declined); M Pete Vagenas (11/30: option declined); D Jonathan Leathers (11/30: option declined); G Jay Nolly (12/5: trade to Chicago); D Geinier Garcia (1/17: trade to Montreal); F Mustapha Jarju (1/21: contract terminated); M Philippe Davies (1/21: option declined); M/F Lee Nguyen (3/1: waived)

MONTREAL IMPACT

The league's 19th team, the Montréal Impact, kick off their inaugural season with a visit to a member of the expansion class of 2011 in Vancouver. While the clubs are meeting for the first time in MLS, they have a rich history against each other, having played more recently over the past few years in the Canadian Championship.

  • The Impact concluded their inaugural preseason campaign with a 1-0 victory against BK Hacken of Sweden last Saturday in Orlando, Fla. Eduardo Sebrango scored the game's lone goal in the 62nd minute.
  • "It's good for us to finish this trip on a positive note," said French defender Hassoun Camara. "The hardest part is yet to come, but I think that we are ready to start a new season."
  • Here's the Impact team: Donovan Ricketts, Zarek Valentin (Karl Ouimette 46'), Shavar Thomas (Matteo Ferrari 46'), Tyson Wahl (Hassoun Camara 46'), Josh Gardner (Calum Mallace 46'), Davy Arnaud (Lamar Neagle 46'), Patrice Bernier (Bryan Arguez 46'), Felipe (Collen Warner 46'), Justin Mapp (Bernardo Corradi 46') Justin Braun (Miguel Montaño 63'), Andrew Wenger (Eduardo Sebrango 46')
  • The match came after the Impact concluded their participation in the Disney Pro Soccer Challenge, where they finished third in their group. Montreal lost once (to First Kick opponent Vancouver) and drew twice, reaching a 1-1 tie with the Houston Dynamo in their final Disney match - all coming against MLS opposition.
  • Here's the Impact team vs. Houston: Donovan Ricketts (Greg Sutton 46'), D-Jeb Brovsky (Calum Mallace 77'), D-Matteo Ferrari, D-Tyson Wahl, D-Josh Gardner, M-Davy Arnaud, M-Patrice Bernier, M-Felipe, M-Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Collen Warner 77'), F-Justin Braun (Lamar Neagle 63'), F-Mike Fucito (Miguel Montano 55')
  • The Impact made a quality addition to their backline in the days leading up to their first MLS game, signing Italian central defender Matteo Ferrari. Ferrari had been with Turkish club Besiktas since 2009, previously making more than 200 appearances in Italy's Serie A with Inter Milan, Parma, and AS Roma.
  • "We are extremely pleased to add a player of this quality to our team," said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. "He has already fit into our group in a very good way and we believe that his experience and leadership make us stronger."
  • The Impact also made a very popular signing in veteran striker Eduardo Sebrango. The Cuban native played with the Impact between 2002 and 2005, and the 2009 to 2011 seasons, while the club was in the lower divisions. He is the second-leading scorer all-time in club history.
  • "I've been with the club for a long time and it's special for me to be a part of its first season in the top league in North America," Sebrango said. "I will try to do my best to represent all the former Impact players that wore the team's colours proudly over the years."

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS

  • IN: D Nelson Rivas (10/3: free/Inter Milan, Italy); G Evan Bush (10/21: NASL Impact); D Sinisa Ubiparipovic (11/1: NASL Impact); M Hassoun Camara (11/3: NASL Impact); D Jeb Brovsky (11/23: expansion draft); D Bobby Burling (11/23: expansion draft); D Josh Gardner (11/23: expansion draft); M Justin Mapp (11/23: expansion draft); M Sanna Nyassi (11/23: expansion draft); D James Riley (11/23: expansion draft); D Seth Sinovic (11/23: expansion draft); M Collen Warner (11/23: expansion draft); D Zarek Valentin (11/23: expansion draft); F Justin Braun (11/23: trade from Chivas USA); M Gerson Mayen (11/23: trade from Chivas USA); D Tyson Wahl (11/23: trade from Seattle Sounders); M Bryan Arguez (11/25: free/Ft. Lauderdale Strikers);  M Davy Arnaud (11/28: trade from Sporting KC); G Donovan Ricketts (11/28: trade from LA); M Ian Westlake (12/5: NASL Impact); M Miguel Montaño (12/7: free/Seattle); G Greg Sutton (12/9: free/New York); M Patrice Bernier (12/19: free/Lyngby); M Felipe Martins (12/21: free/FC Lugano); D/F Andrew Wenger (1/12: SuperDraft); M Calum Mallace (1/12: SuperDraft); M Evan James (1/17: supplemental draft); F Aaron Schoenfeld (1/17: supplemental draft); F Steven Miller (1/17: supplemental draft); F Carl Haworth (1/17: supplemental draft); D Geinier Garc"a (1/17: trade from Vancouver); D Shavar Thomas (1/20: free); F Eddie Johnson (2/17: allocation); F Mike Fucito (2/17: trade from Seattle); M Lamar Neagle (2/17: trade from Seattle); F Eduardo Sebrango (2/21: free); D Matteo Ferrari (3/1: free)
  • OUT: D James Riley (11/23: trade to Chivas USA); D Seth Sinovic (11/28: trade to Sporting KC); F Brian Ching (2/16: traded to Houston); F Eddie Johnson (2/17: traded to Seattle); M Ian Westlake (2/27: waived)