Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC | MLS Match Preview

TORONTO FC vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
July 16, 2014 (WEEK 19, MLS Game #170)
8 p.m. ET (TSN/RDS2)

Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC renew their Canadian rivalry for the only time in league play when the clubs face off Wednesday evening at BMO Field. The teams have already met this season in the Canadian Championship, TFC advancing in a penalty shootout after each won on their home ground. Toronto FC are coming off a wild 4-2 come-from-behind win at home against Houston over the weekend, while Vancouver are coming off a 3-1 home loss to Chivas USA where they took an early lead.

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REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; AR2 (opposite): Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho; 4th: Silviu Petrescu
Chapman MLS Career: 40 games; FC/gm: 22.3; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 10; pens: 13

SUSPENDED: VAN: Jordan Harvey (through July 16)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Jermain Defoe
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Jackson, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell … VAN: Gershon Koffie, Sebastian Fernandez, Andy OíBrien, Pedro Morales
DISABLED LIST: VAN: Caleb Clarke (season-ending injury)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (MLS) (4 meetings): Toronto FC 2 wins, 6 goals … Whitecaps FC 2 wins, 7 goals … Ties 0
AT TORONTO (2 meetings): Toronto FC 2 wins, 4 goals … Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/2: VAN 1, TOR 0 (Koffie 59)

  • The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play, but they did meet in the semifinals of the Canadian Championship. Each team won 2-1 on their home ground in the home-and-home series, TFC winning the series on penalty kicks after the May 14 contest at BC Place.
  • The teams have evenly split their all-time league series, each winning twice in four lifetime MLS meetings, all of the victories coming for the home club.
  • They have also now met three times in the Canadian Championship, Toronto FC winning the aggregate series on each occasion, including for the title in 2011 and 2012. In each instance, the teams played to a first-leg draw in Vancouver, then Toronto won the second leg at home.
  • Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen vs. VAN: P1 W0 L1 D0 … Carl Robinson vs. TOR: first game

TORONTO FC
Toronto FC put an end to their three-game run without victory, storming back for a 4-2 win against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at BMO Field. TFC sit in third place in the Eastern Conference, with 24 points from 15 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Giles Barnes found an unmarked Brad Davis on the left side of the box and he slotted home past TFC 'keeper Joe Bendik at the near post. Then Houston caught the Reds on the break at the half-hour, when Davis from essentially the same spot as the first after a cross from Giles Barnes found him alone at the back post.
  • But Toronto FC began their fight back in the 39th minute when Dynamo 'keeper Tally Hall bobbled a Jermain Defoe cross and dropped the ball onto the head of Jonathan Osorio on the doorstep. The equalizer then came during first-half stoppage time when Defoe laid off a perfect pass to a hard charging Dominic Oduro – his initial shot was stopped by Hall, but he slotted home his own rebound to make it 2-2.
  • Toronto took the lead in the 63rd minute when Defoe danced around the Houston backline and clinically finished past Hall. Defoe then sealed the result just before the finish when an errant pass from the Dynamo backline sent him in alone on Hall.
  • TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made two changes to the team that fell 2-1 to D.C. United at BMO Field. Doneil Henry came into central defense for the suspended Nick Hagglund, and Dominic Oduro started on the flank in place of Bradley Orr.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Mark Bloom, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell (Bradley Orr 69), Justin Morrow - Dominic Oduro (Daniel Lovitz 58), Jonathan Osorio, Collen Warner, Jackson - Jermain Defoe, Luke Moore (Gilberto 80).

TEAM NEWS

  • Toronto FC matched their club record with their four-goal output, a feat achieved four times previously, last in a 4-1 win against D.C. United last Sept. 28.
  • “The boys had a bit of a belief that if they stuck to it, and played to the game plan, then the chances will come,” said TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen. “They did and they got taken and then I think the third we needed some big plays, and our ‘keeper made a big play, our defenders got their head on the ball and it set up the platform for the fourth goal which made it comfortable.”
  • It was also the first time in TFC’s eight-year MLS history they had overcome a two-goal deficit and claimed a victory.
  • “Sometimes in games when you concede an early goal or two, there is still a long way to go and you just have to keep cool and just try and get the first goal back before halftime,” Jermain Defoe said. “And we managed to do that. Then you can really kick on and try to get the second goal. I think it was important to score in the first half because if you go into the break down 2-0, it is difficult and the other team gets confident. Then when it was 2-2 they came at us and tried to win the game and I think that suited us because we then hit them on the counter attack.”
  • Defoe scored two goals in a game for the third time in his first MLS season in the win vs. Houston. Defoe was fourth in the MLS Golden Boot standings after the weekend with 10 goals.
  • “It helps having a world-class player like Defoe anytime, but in times like this yes because you know you are going to get chances and you just hope they get taken,” said Nelsen. “With a player like that they get taken. Our attacking guys got the boys of the back out of trouble because we dug ourselves a bit of a hole.”
  • Said Defoe: “It’s important to just work hard in the game and that’s what I’ve done really, just got my head down and just try to do what I’ve done in England. There are some fantastic players here and we’re improving game-by-game and I’m just really enjoying it because I’m getting my chances to score. I’ve always said, it’s important as a forward to be confident when you get the chances to score.”
  • Dominic Oduro made his third start since coming to TFC from the Columbus Crew and netted his first goal with the club, and his first goal in 2014.
  • “We are still evolving as a team.  We still are only 15 games in the year and even those games not very many of those players have been available, we haven’t had a consistent team out there, but we are starting to see it now,” said Nelsen. “We are starting to get a wee bit of belief and as long as we keep making little steps week-in-and-week-out hopefully we’ll keep improving.”

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC saw their BC Place undefeated run come to an end, with Chivas USA overturning an early deficit to come back for a 3-1 win on Saturday evening. Whitecaps FC sit in fifth place in the Western Conference with 25 points from 17 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Whitecaps FC made the initial breakthrough in the 27th minute. Pedro Morales sent a pinpoint delivery from a corner into the box and Carlyle Mitchell headed home low through the legs of goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. Chivas got themselves level just two minutes into the second half when Agustin Pelletieri rose unchallenged to head home a Mauro Rosales corner from the left.
  • The match then took a turn when Whitecaps FC fullback Jordan Harvey saw a straight red from referee Armando Villarreal for a two-footed tackle on Oswaldo Minda.
  • Chivas took advantage by hitting for the eventual winner in the 81st minute when Marco Delgado sent in a ball to the back post, which Erick Torres headed past Ousted for his fifth goal in five games.
  • The visitors then sealed the match in stoppage time when Leandro Barrera rolled the ball into an empty goal from almost midfield after Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted was caught up field for a corner.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made no changes to the team that defeated Seattle Sounders FC 1-0 at BC Place.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): David Ousted - Steven Beitashour, Johnny Leveron, Carlyle Mitchell, Jordan Harvey (ejected 69) - Gershon Koffie (Nigel Reo-Coker 68), Matias Laba - Sebastian Fernandez (Christian Dean 71), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh (Darren Mattocks 68) - Erik Hurtado.

TEAM NEWS

  • It was just the second loss of the season for Whitecaps FC at BC Place, their first since a 2-1 defeat by Colorado on April 5.
  • “I don't think we deserved to lose. We were very comfortable in the first half going one goal ahead. We played the way I wanted us to play, without, probably, the lack of cutting edge in the final third,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “We did everything correctly, but then little finer details in the give-and-goes in around the box weren't there in the first half.”
  • The trip to Toronto starts a two-game road swing this week, which sees Vancouver head to Real Salt Lake for a Saturday night game.
  • “Like I've said all along, you've got to win at home and try and pick up points on the road,” Robinson said. “I've just said to them in there we need to try and win an extra away game now. I'm confident we will. We're not bad on the road; we can catch teams on the break. We've got to make up a game now. Disappointed, but we've got a busy week ahead.”
  • Carlyle Mitchell scored his first career professional goal, in his fourth MLS season, in putting Whitecaps FC into the lead against Chivas.
  • Pedro Morales recorded an assist for a second consecutive game, his first assists since June 1. He leads Whitecaps FC with seven assists this season.
  • “It's a good feeling getting my first goal, but unfortunately we didn't get the result we expected. The other team beat us, but that's water under the bridge. We have to go back out and get a win,” Mitchell said. “I had been getting close and I said, 'One day, it will go in.' It was a great cross by Pedro (Morales) and I was able to finish.”
  • Ever-present for the entire league campaign, Jordan Harvey’s ejection in the 69th minute was the first time he’d been off the field in an MLS match since missing the final game of the 2013 season.
  • After making his last four starts at right back, Nigel Reo-Coker made a second consecutive substitute appearance in the midfield, this time coming into a deep-lying central role.
  • “Just to try and get a bit of physicality in there. I brought Koffie off, and I thought he did OK, but not to the levels that he has been used to. So, I wanted to try and get a bit of urgency and bit of drive from midfield,” Robinson said.