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Preview: 'Caps seek ACC revenge in MLS play vs Toronto

TORONTO FC vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC 
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
July 11, 2012 (WEEK 19, MLS Game #172)
7 p.m. ET (TSN/RDS)
 
Canadian rivals Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC meet for the first time in league play this season on Wednesday evening at BMO Field, after TFC dashed Vancouver’s Canadian Championship dreams earlier this season. TFC return home after their five-game unbeaten run was put to an end in a 3-0 loss at Philadelphia Union. Whitecaps FC continue their long road spell, coming off a scoreless draw last weekend at Chivas USA.
 
REFEREE: Fotis Bazakos. SAR (bench): C.J. Morgante; JAR (opposite): Scott Kachmarik; 4th: Mathieu Bourdeau
MLS Career: 5 games; FC/gm: 25.8; Y/gm: 1.8; R: 0; pens: 1
 
INJURY REPORT:
  • TORONTO FC – OUT: GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); QUESTIONABLE: FW Nicholas Lindsay (L knee surgery recovery); DF Ty Harden (R adductor strain); DF Adrian Cann (R knee sprain); DF Doneil Henry (illness); FW Danny Koevermans (R infrapatellar fat pad irritation); MF Terry Dunfield (R eye contusion)
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery recovery); FW Omar Salgado (R foot fracture); GK Brian Sylvestre (R knee surgery recovery); MF John Thorrington (R quad strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Matt Watson (R ankle sprain)
 
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: VAN: Eric Hassli (caution accumulation; through July 11)
WARNINGS:
  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Ryan Johnson, Torsten Frings … VAN: Martin Bonjour, Gershon Koffie
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Ashtone Morgan, Julian de Guzman, Richard Eckersley … VAN: Alain Rochat
HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Toronto FC 1 win, 3 goals … Whitecaps 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
AT TORONTO FC (2 meetings): Toronto FC 1 win, 1 goal … Whitecaps 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
 
LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/19: VAN 4, TOR 2 (Hassli 15, 72; Dunfield 26; Harris 63 – De Rosario 20; Santos (74)
6/29: TOR 1, VAN 0 (Soolsma 54)
• The Canadian rivals are meeting for the first time this season in MLS play. But they’ve already met twice this year in the final of the Canadian Championship, Toronto FC taking the title for a third consecutive year, 2-1 on aggregate, winning the second leg 1-0 at BMO Field on May 23.
• It was the second time in as many years the clubs have met for the Canadian Championship, with TFC also winning a year ago, 3-2 on aggregate, including a 2-1 win in the second leg on the second try after the first attempt was abandoned at BMO Field.
• In league play in Whitecaps FC’s inaugural season, each team won on their home ground, Vancouver taking a 4-2 win at Empire Field in the club’s first-ever MLS game, and Toronto FC winning 1-0 at BMO Field.
 
CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
• Toronto FC won the Amway Canadian Championship, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-0 in the second leg and winning the title 2-1 on aggregate. Reggie Lambe scored the game’s lone goal in the 83rd minute in a testy match that saw Julian de Guzman (TFC) and Sebastien Le Toux (VAN) each sent off.
• Here’s the TFC team: Milos Kocic; Jeremy Hall, Adrian Cann, Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan; Julian de Guzman (sent off 57), Torsten Frings, Eric Avila (Richard Eckersley 60); Reggie Lambe (Terry Dunfield 84), Ryan Johnson, Joao Plata (Nick Soolsma 78)
• Here’s the Whitecaps FC team: Joe Cannon; Young-Pyo Lee, Martin Bonjour, Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat (Jordan Harvey 65); Gershon Koffie, Jun Marques Davidson, John Thorrington (Davide Chiumiento 73); Sébastien Le Toux (sent off 58), Eric Hassli, Camilo Sanvezzo (Darren Mattocks 66)
• In the first leg, May 16 at BC Place, a late Eric Hassli volley gave Whitecaps FC the equalizer for a 1-1 draw. Ryan Johnson gave TFC the lead on 66 minutes, heading home a pinpoint cross from Julian de Guzman.
 
TORONTO FC
Toronto FC saw their league undefeated run put to an end after five games, falling 3-0 to Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on Sunday evening. TFC are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, with 10 points from 17 games.
 
LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: Philly down Toronto, 3-0

• The Union took the lead in the 34th minute when Jack McInerney chased down a long ball from Michael Farfan along the right side and found an open Gabriel Gómez in the box, whose classy finish snuck inside the post past goalkeeper Milos Kocic.
• Just two minutes later, Union doubled the lead when Gabriel Farfan’s through ball set up Freddy Adu, whose left-footed blast from inside the area found the back of the net.
• Antoine Hoppenot completed the scoring in the 78th minute, after he was sprung on a through ball from Michael Farfan and blasted a low shot past Kocic.
• TFC head coach Paul Mariner ran out the same team for a third consecutive match, keeping the group that reached a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas in Frisco.
• TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Milos Kocic - Jeremy Hall, Logan Emory (Doneil Henry 86), Richard Eckersley, Ashtone Morgan - Reggie Lambe, Torsten Frings, Terry Dunfield (Luis Silva 65), Eric Avila (Julian de Guzman 46) - Danny Koevermans, Ryan Johnson.
 
TEAM NEWS
• Toronto FC lost for the first time since June 16, the first game after Paul Mariner took over as head coach.
• “Seven games in 23 days – five on the road [playing] the same players – is a tall order,” said Mariner. “[Philadelphia] were sharper than us in the first half. We tried to quell it a little bit …we had a little re-group at halftime. Tried to move the ball a little bit in the second half, but it was just too much for us.”
• With a victory, TFC could have pulled ahead of Philadelphia into ninth place in the Eastern Conference. TFC now enter the week four points behind Philadelphia and 12 points from the final playoff position.
• “You could tell we were tired, but it is not an excuse,” said defender Jeremy Hall. “They played in LA while we were in Dallas on the weekday and had to travel back. They came to play in front of the home crowd. We tried to manage the training sessions, but we came out yesterday to try and get the legs moving. We just didn’t turn up for this one.”
• The game against Philadelphia was the second in the week, the third consecutive week TFC have had games at midweek and on the weekend. That trend continues for the next two weeks, with the Reds heading to New England this weekend.
• "It’s definitely been a difficult week but that’s part of playing in MLS,” said Terry Dunfield. “We came here straight from Dallas. It’s been difficult to train because it’s been 100 degrees-plus every day since we’ve been here, [but] these are things that you need to cope with on the road.”
• Danny Koevermans saw his goal-scoring streak snapped at five games, two short of the all-time MLS record held by Raul Diaz Arce (1997), Wolde Harris (2000) and Carlos Ruiz (2006).
• “The second half we had one or two chances that we couldn’t put away. If we score it might be a different game,” said Hall. “… If we can get him the ball in the right place there is a good chance it is going to be a goal.”
 
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC came away with a result for the second consecutive match on their long road swing, reaching a scoreless draw with Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on Saturday evening. Whitecaps FC are in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 30 points from 18 games.

LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: Chivas USA, Vancouver play to scoreless draw

• Joe Cannon was credited with three saves while recording his league-leading eighth clean sheet of the year, making a pair of stops in short order in a late flurry by Chivas USA to preserve the result. 
• Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was credited with one save on the evening.
• Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made one change to the team that defeated the Colorado Rapids 1-0 on Wednesday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Sebastien Le Toux started in place of Darren Mattocks.
• VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): Joe Cannon - Lee Young-Pyo, Jay DeMerit, Martin Bonjour, Jordan Harvey - Gershon Koffie, Alain Rochat - Barry Robson, Sebastien Le Toux, Davide Chiumiento - Eric Hassli (Camilo 69).

TEAM NEWS
• Whitecaps FC recorded their ninth defensive shutout of the season, most in MLS. “I think given the fact that it was 0-0 it was actually quite an exciting game, there was a lot of good play from both teams,” said Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie. “… For us it's a good point on the road, it's our eighth clean sheet of the season.”
• For goalkeeper Joe Cannon, he is one shutout ahead of Jimmy Nielsen (SKC) and Nick Rimando (RSL).
• “I thought he did well again, he made a couple of good saves. One he should have held and he didn't but we got to the rebound quickly but the others he saved well and generally looked pretty strong out there,” said Rennie.
• Said striker Eric Hassli of Cannon: “As per usual, for me he's probably the best player this year. He saved a lot of points, he's great and he was really great again tonight.”
• With Jun Marques Davidson again available after suspension, Rennie kept Alain Rochat in one of the two holding midfield roles, alongside Gershon Koffie.
• “Both are equally good at their jobs,” captain Jay DeMerit said to TEAM 1410. “Obviously they’re a little bit different players, but both you can definitely rely on and trust to do their jobs in front of you and to keep the ball for us to try and find that pass. I think Alain likes to dribble in that space a little bit more and try to link up, while Jun likes to be a little more defensive-minded. Either one works and I think both of them show because we’ve kept clean sheets with both so either way that’s a huge positive for us.”
• Designated Player Barry Robson started his second consecutive match, playing the full 90 minutes.
• “The last few minutes he did get a little bit tired but he did get 90 minutes already, but it does show how professional he is and how hard he’s been working in his offseason and how quickly he’s got his fitness up,” said Rennie of Robson. “Now he should be ready to contribute for us. It will take a few more games to get in the rhythm of things but already he helped us a lot because he was always willing to take the ball, he was always getting in possession of the ball, switched the play very well which opens things up and allows us to keep the ball more easily.”
• The game at Chivas USA was the third in a five-game road swing for Whitecaps FC, that concludes this weekend with a trip to Chicago following the game in Toronto. Vancouver is 1-1-1 thus far on the trip; their last match at BC Place was June 20.
• “Overall, it’s been a good few days for us to get four points out of six on the road against conference rivals,” Rennie said. “It also keeps the gap between us and Chivas quite large at the moment, so overall, a good couple of games.”