ORLANDO, Fla. – The Vancouver Whitecaps left town with the title in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Saturday night, but hoisting the trophy turned out to be a far tougher task than most at the tournament expected.
Midfielder Camilo Sanvezzo scored in the 10th minute and goalkeeper Joe Cannon came up big when he had to, but Toronto FC’s makeshift team of trialists and reserve players gave the first-string Whitecaps as much as they could handle in a 1-0 decision in the championship.
TFC called on the backup bunch because of the looming CONCACAF Champions League showdown against the LA Galaxy on March 7 back in Toronto, and Eric Avila and Nick Soolsma were the only regular starters who suited up in Orlando. Even head coach Aron Winter boarded a plane long before the opening whistle in the final, leaving technical director Paul Mariner and assistant Jason Bent to steer the ship.
Though they rarely threatened to score – Cannon denied a shot at the back post in the 62nd minute off the foot of Efrain Burgos for the best chance – they didn’t let the Whitecaps get away with much. And that was impressive, considering Vancouver trotted out a team of mostly starters, aide from Sebastien Le Toux and Davide Chiumiento.
Those two skipped the final ahead of a friendly on Monday against the Carolina RailHawks.
Sanvezzo’s goal was the highlight of a game bogged down largely in the middle of the field. He skipped down the left flank, skirted TFC goalkeeper Quillan Roberts and buried a shot at the near post to seemingly open the floodgates early for the ‘Caps.
But that wasn’t to be, as TFC stood tall until halftime and then actually controlled much of the flow for spells the break. The ‘Caps had their chances in the second half but couldn’t convert, settling for a shot rocketed over the bar by rookie Darren Mattocks in the 52nd minute as their best real threat.
The Whitecaps’ better chances came before the first half ended, none cleaner than a 27th-minute shot from Atiba Harris that skipped just wide of the post.
TFC’s Keith Makubuya nearly scored in the 44th minute, but Cannon was up to the task to paw a shot wide after a brief lapse on the Vancouver back line allowed the TFC hopeful to find a seam in the penalty box.
Vancouver finished the tournament with a spotless 4-0 record, outscoring their opponents 8-0.
VAN – Camilo 10’
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (4-4-2, left to right): 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)
TORONTO FC (4-3-3, left to right): Quillan Roberts – Kevin Huezo, Logan Emory, Michael Green, Jay Chapman (60’ Jordan Hamilton) – Efrain Burgos, Oscar Cordon, Eric Avila (76’ Sergio Camargo) – Keith Makubuya (60’ Stefan Vukovic), Moises Orozco, Nick Soolsma
CAUTIONS: 26’ Mattocks, 87’ Teibert, 91+’ Burgos
Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistant Referees: Sean Hurd, Joe Fletcher
Fourth Official: Cedric Adams
Highlights: Vancouver tops Toronto in Disney final