VANCOUVER – For the third straight year, the Vancouver Whitecaps are through to the Amway Canadian Championship final.
The ‘Caps won 2-0 Wednesday night at BC Place, and 5-2 on aggregate, over NASL side FC Edmonton, thanks to a long-range effort from Corey Hertzog and an own-goal from Shaun Saiko.
A key moment in the match came on 51 minutes, as Adrian LeRoy tripped Hertzog up, drawing a red card and forcing the Eddies to play with 10 men for the duration. Largely through Hertzog and Man of the Match Russell Teibert, Vancouver were only too happy to punish the visitors.
Hertzog, making his return from a concussion, opened the scoring on 58 minutes with a shot from 35 yards out, smacking an outside-the-foot effort past a stranded Lance Parker after Teibert had won a 50/50 ball in midfield.
The Whitecaps then doubled their lead through Saiko’s own-goal, as the Alberta native headed into the top left corner of his goal from a Teibert corner kick in the 67th minute.
Even before the red, Vancovuer had dominated, and probably should have claimed the lead earlier. Greg Klazura and Camilo Sanvezzo set up the first chance six minutes in, with the Brazilian flicking Klazura’s service into the path of an onrushing Tom Heinemann. Heinemann, who was active, made good contact with his foot but sent his ball wide to the right of the target.
In the 25th minute, the Whitecapas came close again through Teibert and Camilo, then again six minutes later as Gershon Koffie found the profligate Darren Mattocks, who could only ring the woodwork.
Koffie himself came close to scoring in the 39th minute, attempting a left-footed effort from outside the area which went just wide to the right of the upper 90.
Heinemann nearly set Mattocks up for a goal in the 44th minute, firing a ball across the area which the forward could only deflect wide of target.
Those squandered chances wouldn’t come back to haunt the ‘Caps, however. Hertzog, who came on at halftime for Mattocks, immediately looked lively and found his opportunity thanks to Teibert’s industry.
The Whitecaps now advance to play the Montreal Impact in the two-leg final of the Canadian Championship, starting with the first leg in Montreal on May 15. Before that, the ‘Caps will play away to Real Salt Lake this Saturday before hosting LA Galaxy on May 11.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Russell Teibert||Made this his game on both sides of the ball, and looks more comfortable in that box-to-box role by the week. Tough, but cultured performance.|
|2||Corey Hertzog||Rapidly moving up the depth chart, and showing his "first round SuperDraft pick" chops. An opportunistic striker by definition who finds and finishes chances.|
|3||Gershon Koffie||Tiebert eventually took the honors, but Koffie was irrepressible in the first 45. Looked very much at home narrow on the right side of the diamond-4 midfield.|