Vancouver defeats Toronto FC 2-0 in Nutrilite Canadian Championship match
The Vancouver Whitecaps got the victory they needed but still must wait to see if they will celebrate winning the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.
BURNABY, B.C. - The Vancouver Whitecaps got the victory they needed but still must wait to see if they will celebrate winning the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.
Midfielder Ansu Toure scored twice and usually stoic Whitecap coach Teitur Thordarson celebrated a 2-0 victory over Toronto FC with a front somersault Tuesday night. The win gave Vancouver (3-1-0) nine points and all but clinched the Nutrilite championship for the Whitecaps.
Toronto (2-1-0) has six points. A win by Toronto over the Montreal Impact on June 18 would give them the same record as the Whitecaps, but Vancouver has a goal differential of plus-4 (five goals for, one against) compared to Toronto's differential of zero (two goals for, two against). That means TFC must defeat Montreal by at least four goals or Vancouver wins the Voyageurs Cup trophy and earns a berth in the preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions League.
"Winning by two goals is a bonus," said Thordarson, who had regained his composure by the time he spoke at a press conference. "We deserved it.
"We played extremely well, even if they had some good chances. We knew we had to find the right balance. If they would have scored one goal, it would have been over."
Toure, who was born in Liberia but grew up in St. Paul. Minn., scored his first goals as a Whitecap.
"Toronto is a good team," said the 27-year-old, attack-minded winger who played for Miami FC Blues last season. "To score two goals against Toronto, that means so much for me."
Toronto entered the game needing just a draw to claim the title. The loss left head coach Chris Cummins fuming and players in the Toronto dressing room calling each other out.
"The better team won on the night, no doubt about it," said Cummins. "We didn't play well enough.
"I have to question hunger, desire, passion. Vancouver had that and we never did. I've openly questioned that and they (his players) are questioning that as well. If you don't show that passion, that desire, that willingness to compete, you are going to get nothing in this game. And that's exactly what happened to us."
Canadian bragging rights were on the line in the match. Toronto plays in Major League Soccer, North America's most prestigious league. The Whitecaps toil in the second-tier United Soccer Leagues' first division.
"What it came down to is it was a cup game," said Whitecap goalkeeper Jay Nolly, who has allowed just one goal in four tournament games. "No matter what cup you are playing in, you want to win it.
"It just happened Toronto is in MLS and we are in the USL. It doesn't really matter when it comes down to one game. It's the best team on the day."
A crowd of 5,688, about 400 more than capacity, watched the game on a warm summer evening at Swangard Stadium.
Toure clinched the victory in the 81st minute. He took a ball from Charles Gbeke and beat Toronto goalkeeper Greg Sutton with a left-footed, 17-yard strike.
He opened the scoring in the 31st minute on a pretty play by Marcus Haber.
Haber slipped a pass to Wes Knight, who banged a hard, rising shot that Sutton leaped to get a hand on. The rebound went to Toure at the side of the net, who scored with a right-footed shot.
The goal seemed to wake up Toronto, who had two good scoring chances before the half ended.
In the 38th minute Pablo Vitti put Dwayne De Rosario behind the Whitecap defence. Nolly came out to challenge, but the Canadian international chipped the ball over him and toward the net. Vancouver defender Lyle Martin ran the ball down and cleared it off the goal-line.
About three minutes later Vitti blasted a shot that bounced off the post.
Early in the second half Nolly robbed Chad Barrett on a header. The attempt followed a free kick by De Rosario.
Thordarson shrugged when asked about the long wait to decide the tournament winner.
"There are a lot of important games coming up," he said. "We can't sit and wait to see what happens when Toronto plays Montreal.
"I know this will be a tough game. I don't know yet if we have won or not. We are not sitting and waiting and thinking about that."
Montreal (0-3-0) are out of the running for the championship.
The Impact won last year's national crown and reached the quarter-final stage of the regional tournament.
Toronto defeated Vancouver 1-0 at BMO Field on May 6.
Vancouver played without captain Martin Nash, who received his second yellow card of the tournament in last week's win over Montreal. He was replaced by Gordon Chin.
Chin had a chance in the 22nd minute, but his shot from about 22 yards out was deflected by forward Danny Dichio.
Sutton started in place of goalkeeper Stefan Frei who sat out with a foot infection.
Toronto's leading scorer, Amado Guevara of Honduras, and speedy American defender Marvell Wynne missed the game because of international duty.
Toronto's Kevin Harmse earned his second yellow card of the tournament in the 63rd minute and will be suspended for the game against Montreal.
The Whitecaps will join MLS in 2011.
Notes: Nash saw a 68-game ironman streak end. ... Nolly has played every minute of each Vancouver game this season. ...Toronto assistant Nick Dasovic is a former Whitecap.