Whitecaps FC-Toronto FC Preview
One of the few successful moments of this season for Toronto FC came against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Whitecaps seem intent on revenge when they make the trip to BMO Field on Wednesday night for the lone MLS matchup between these teams.
Toronto (2-11-4) remains the worst team in the league but earned the Canadian championship title and a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League by beating Vancouver (8-4-6) over two legs in May.
"The last time we played Toronto is one of the few disappointments of the season so far and one of the big letdowns," Vancouver coach Martin Rennie said. "It's going to be important for us to remember a little bit of that and how it felt at the end of that game and really go and make up for that."
Toronto has since replaced coach Aron Winter with Paul Mariner, who is 1-2-4 since taking over. The new TFC coach is impressed with what he's seen from the Whitecaps.
"They're a difficult team to beat and that's the one thing we need to be - a difficult team to beat," Mariner said.
The contentious Canadian championship ended with Toronto's 1-0 home win May 23 with both teams finishing with 10 players. Reggie Lambe scored in the 83rd minute to give TFC a 1-0 win and 2-1 aggregate victory.
"It's always a challenge for us, especially at BMO Field," Whitecaps defender Jay DeMerit said. "But it's another chance to have another shot at them, we've played them already a couple times this season and we look forward to hopefully being on the winning end this time."
Striker Eric Hassli scored Vancouver's lone goal of the Canadian championship, but he won't be available due to yellow card accumulation. Darren Mattocks, tied with Sebastien Le Toux for the team lead with four goals, will likely start in his place.
"Hassli obviously won't be playing, he obviously would have been a threat but I am guessing Darren will come in so it's going to be a very, very difficult game," Mariner said.
Vancouver is 1-1-1 on a five-game road stretch, failing to concede a goal during a win and a draw in the last two as Joe Cannon has pushed his league-leading shutout total to eight.
Toronto had scored 10 goals over a 1-0-4 stretch before Sunday's 3-0 loss at Philadelphia.
This matchup is a special one for Toronto midfielder Terry Dunfield, a Vancouver native who will appear in his first MLS match against the team he played for 12 times last season before he was traded to TFC.
"It'll be no problem getting up for this game," Dunfield said. "It's always big playing your old club, I loved my time at Vancouver but I'd love to put one over on them on Wednesday night."
TFC will not have striker Joao Plata, who could be returning to play in his native Ecuador.