Vancouver Whitecaps FC (pictured) celebrate after scoring against visiting Ottawa Fury FC in an Amway Canadian Championship match on June 8, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)
VANCOUVER, Canada – In a bid to retain its Amway Canadian Championship title, the Vancouver Whitecaps have been doing things the hard way.
They had to recover from a two-goal deficit against the NASL’s Ottawa Fury to pick up a 3-2 aggregate victory in the tournament’s semifinals. Now, heading into the second leg of the final against visiting Toronto FC on Wednesday, the Whitecaps must overhaul a 1-0 loss suffered last week if it’s to secure a third straight strip to the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.
“We go into this game a goal down, but we’ve been in this position before against Ottawa (in the semifinals) and you saw how we bounced back,” said midfielder and Canada international Russell Teibert. “We’re a team that’s capable of bouncing back as we’ve showed a couple times this season.”
Vancouver will take heart in the three goals it scored on home turf against Ottawa and has the pace to turn games -- and championships -- around.
Despite possessing a one-goal lead, Toronto FC knows that a single strike by Vancouver can change the series’ trajectory. It also realizes that by notching another goal of its own, Toronto can stretch the Vancouver defense even further and find more openings to exploit.
“Goals change games,” Toronto FC midfielder Will Johnson said. “If we get the first one, then, obviously, they need three. Likewise, if they get the first one, then it’s tied up, so we’ll see what the game gives us.
"We’ll see how it plays out. We’ve got some experienced guys who have been in situations like this before that can make decisions for the group on the fly and we’ll go from there."
Toronto is in its first final since 2014 and will be looking to win its first championship since 2012, which was the last of four consecutive Canadian Championship crowns.