Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto have unfinished Voyageurs Cup business.
After the debacle in Montreal and the monsoon in Toronto, the Caps will be hoping it will be third time lucky and they will finally get to lift the Canadian Championship trophy by the end of the month.
Vancouver set up the latest two game Cup showdown against Toronto with a 3-1 win over Edmonton at BC Place tonight. It looked comfortable in the end scoreline, but the Eddies made the Caps work every step of the way for their place in the final.
Martin Rennie surprised most people by ringing four changes from last week’s first leg and including Jay DeMerit in the centre of defence and going with a strikeforce of Eric Hassli and Camilo Sanvezzo.
Floyd Franks and Michael Nanchoff got their first starts of the season in midfield and Nanchoff thought he had his name on the scoresheet three minutes in, when he turned home a low John Thorrington cross.
The goal was somewhat mysteriously ruled out for offside, with Camilo looking to have been adjudged off when the cross came over and deemed interfering with play.
Edmonton settled down and took the game to their hosts, and they had a great chance to haul themselves back into the Cup tie in the 19th minute.
Yashir Pinto was sent through on the left, leaving Greg Klazura in his wake, and cut the ball back to Michael Cox on the penalty spot, whose first time strike was parried by Brad Knighton.
Two minutes later and Matt Lam tried a shot from distance that didn’t trouble the Caps goal, but showed the Eddies intention to attack.
Lam had a another long range attempt in the 27th minute, which Knighton got down well to save and Klazura hit the rebound out for a corner.
The Caps were looking a little lacklustre and only had a curling 35th minute Camilo free kick to show for their efforts.
Although having more attacking flair, Edmonton were being restricted to long range efforts and Shaun Saiko fired another one over the bar in the 37th minute.
That nearly changed in the closing minutes of the half.
A dangerous through ball from Shaun Saiko was deflected by the outstretched leg of Jay DeMerit into the path of Pinto and Cox, who has both got on the goal side of Jordan Harvey, but then got in each others way to spurn a great chance.
The momentum of big Cox carried him into Knighton. It was without any real malice but a slight stramash ensured to provide one of the few sparks of the first half.
The second half started off in a little lull but the game sprung into life in the 54th minute when Edmonton got the goal their play deserved, and their first ever Voyageurs Cup goal.
Cox played a short pass outside to Antonio Rago. The right back sent a dangerous ball into the six yard box that eventually came off the head of Pinto and past Knighton for 1-0 to the underdogs.
Nanchoff went down in the box in the 62nd minute, but was looking for the call as he fell over his man.
With everything now to play for, Vancouver brought on some heavyweight talent in to their attack with Sebastien Le Toux and Darren Mattocks, and what a difference they made.
Le Toux made an impact within five minutes of coming on to put the Caps level on the night and give them a two goal cushion of aggregate.
Davide Chiumiento sent a beautiful ball over the Edmonton defence straight into the path of Le Toux. Fabien Vorbe was wrong footed in dramatic fashion, allowing to the Frenchman to run into the box and fire past David Monsalve, who should have done better.
Camilo whipped another free kick just over the bar in the 81st minute, as they sought to wrap things up.
The Brazilian then had the ball in the net a minute later but was flagged offside for the run through.
The Whitecaps brought on Etienne Barbara with five minutes remaining and the Malteser gave Caps fans an idea of what they can expect from him by immediately going on a mazy before being brought down for a penalty.
Barbara stepped up to take the kick in the best “makers-takers” tradition, only for Monsalve to brilliantly tip his well taken kick onto the right hand post.
Edmonton struggled to clear the danger and ended up conceding a kick on the left touchline. Chiumiento again flighted in a perfect ball to Le Toux, this time onto his head, and the Frenchman gave Monsalve no chance at his near post.
In the final seconds of the three minutes of stoppage time, Mattocks got his name on the scoresheet, whipping a Chiumiento cross into the bottom left hand corner, before picking up a booking by celebrating with a Jamaican flag in the Southside.
Overall, it was a patchy performance from the Caps, but they got the job done in the end and looked a much more dangerous side with the addition of Le Toux, Mattocks and Barbara.
Edmonton fought well and for most of the match they had turned in the best performance of all of the four Canadian teams on the night.
They should keep their heads up for they did their team and their city proud.
For Vancouver, it’s another Cup final against Toronto, following on from the pre-season Disney Pro Soccer Classic.
The Caps won silverware that time with the only goal of the game. Not many in Vancouver would argue with the same again.
ATT : 15,011
FINAL SCORE : Vancouver Whitecaps – Edmonton
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS : Brad Knighton; Greg Klazura, Carlyle Mitchell, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey; Floyd Franks, John Thorrington, Davide Chiumiento, Michael Nanchoff (Sebastien Le Toux 70); Eric Hassli (Darren Mattocks 74), Camilo Sanvezzo (Etienne Barbara 85) [Subs Not Used: Joe Cannon, Michael Boxall, Russell Teibert, Bryce Alderson]
EDMONTON : David Monsalve; Antonio Rago, Paul Hamilton, Kevin Hatchi, Fabien Vorbe; Shaun Saiko (Ilya Van Leerrdam 77), Kenny Caceros, Chris Kooy; Michael Cox (Kyle Porter 55), Matt Lam, Yashir Pinto (Paul Craig 81) [Subs Not Used: John Smits, Adam West, Jonathon Joseph-Augustin, Paul Craig, Dominic Oppong]