NUTRILITE CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP-WEEK 4 PREVIEW

NUTRILITE CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP-WEEK 4 PREVIEW-Vancouver Look to Stay Alive at Home

Toronto FC has their 2010 Nutrilite Canadian Championship destiny in their hands this week. A win against Vancouver Whitecaps at rainy Swangard Stadium Wednesday Night will give the Reds the tournament with two games yet to play.

The shoe is on the other foot for the Whitecaps. With three points, Vancouver will live to fight another day. Or at least die another day, as they must take maximum points in their final three matches. The ‘Caps must play like they have nothing to loose.

“It’s a do or die game basically,” Whitecaps keeper Jay Nolly told CTV. ”We know we need a win or a tie to keep going. They know if they get a win it’s all over.”

“We’re not afraid of them,” said ‘Caps forward Marcus Haber. “We’re confident in our own abilities and we’re not going to worry about them too much. We’re just going to focus on ourselves.”

Three consecutive draws at home will hurt a teams confidence though, especially when one of those matches were to Montreal in Week 2 of the NCC. A match that, if won, would have changed the face of the tournament and given Vancouver a little breathing room.

“It’s our home field and if we hope to have a chance to go through, we have to do everything we can to get three points,” Whitecaps manager Teitur Thordarson said in an interview Tuesday. “In the end, I think it will have to be up to us to take some risks.  We will approach the game in our usual manner but if that doesn’t pay off, then we will have to take risks later in the game.”

Thordarson will be hoping his squad emulate the success they had at home against TFC in the 2009 edition of the tournament.

The ‘Caps rebounded from an away defeat in Toronto to roll off three straight victories including a 2-0 at home against Toronto, who needed every goal they got in the tournaments ultimate game to overcome the goal difference deficit. Vancouver also holds the edge in head-to-head meetings between the two clubs, with a 2-1-1 record against their future MLS rivals.

The 2010 Toronto FC team, however, is not the Toronto FC team of the past. The 2010 edition of TFC is scoring goals, playing sound defense and getting points, including a 2-0 win at Saputo Stadium last week in the NCC. A gritty, hard-earned 0-0 draw at the Home Depot Center on Saturday against the Major League Soccer leading Los Angeles Galaxy, will only add to TFC’s confidence.

Preki could be counted on to keep his starting XI on shuffle so far in 2010, but that may change on Wednesday. Having taken a point in LA, Preki may field his best side against Vancouver in an attempt to apply the killing blow to Vancouver. The TFC boss will lose Dwayne De Rosario and Julian DeGuzman to Canadian National Team camp after Wednesday’s match.

By winning in Vancouver, Toronto FC could wrap-up the NCC and claim the Voyageurs Cup and the CONCACAF Champions Cup berth that comes with it, all before loosing the teams key midfielders. The Reds could then rest the entire starting lineup in their final match against Montreal focus on climbing the MLS Eastern Conference standings.

Both teams trained in the driving rain on Tuesday and the forecast in Vancouver calls for more rain on Wednesday Night. The Whitecaps will hope to be raining on Toronto’s Voyageurs Cup parade.

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