One of the most memorable matches in Vancouver Whitecaps history took place just a bout a year ago. the odd thing about that fact is Vancouver didn’t play in the match. Leading last seasons Nutrilite Canadian Championship going into the final contest between Montreal Impact and Toronto FC, Vancouver knew that only a blowout win for Toronto FC would cost them the NCC title, this made little difference to Montreal coach Marc Dos Santos.

The Impact sat virtually all of their starters, stating that they had no chance to win the tournament and wanted to focus their energy on the USL Division 1 season. The result was a 6-1 thrashing by Toronto FC who took the Championship on goal difference over Vancouver.

The memory of this is likely to be forefront in the minds of the thousands of the Whitecaps fans attending the second match of the 2010 edition of the Canadian Championship Wednesday Night at Swangard Stadium. A fact that has not eluded Dos Santos.

“There’s a rivalry between the two clubs because of what happened last year,” Dos Santos stated. “We’re not well loved by the crowd in Vancouver, but once the referee blows the whistle it’s a 90-minute match.”

The two North American Soccer League teams have yet to meet this season but Vancouver lost to Montreal in all five matches the two sides contested in 2009, including the two-legged USL Championship last fall. A fact that will no doubt provide further motivation for the Whitecaps to make their mark in their first match of 2010 edition of the Championship.

The Whitecaps are 2-1-1 in NASL play in 2010 and were unfortunate to not get a point on the road last weekend running into a brace by Ryan Pore brace as they fell to the Portland Timbers.

The Impact is 1-1-1 in league play, having posted their first win by beating Puerto Rico Islanders 1-0 on a goal from Filipe Soares at Saputo Stadium on Saturday.

Montreal will feel hard pressed to get a result from the match after falling 2-0 to Toronto FC in the first match of the Championship. Losing Roberto Brown to a two-match suspension. Brown received a Red Card in the Toronto match and this week was given an additional two-match ban and a $1,500 fine by the Canadian Soccer Association.

Given all the reasons that Montreal is up against it on Wednesday Night, they will also take solace from the fact that their final two matches of the Championship will be played at home.

“We’re starting the tournament with our two biggest challenges, but we know that if we get the three points on Wednesday, we’ll be back in a good position knowing that the next two games will be played at home,” said Impact midfielder David Testo.

“We’ve already won over there (Swangard) and we know that we can do it again” Dos Santos said, referring to last seasons USL Championship last fall. Montreal won the tie and the title 6-3 on aggregate. Perhaps resting the starters made sense after all.

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