If you had to put a highlight reel together on first half action in last night’s Voyageurs Cup match in Vancouver, you would be hard pressed to come up with something. Toronto FC exhibited a road weary look from the grind of a busy game and travel schedule, while the Whitecaps just appeared hapless. Add to that a paltry crowd due to some dangerously inclement pregame weather moving through the Vancouver area and you get the idea of the mood.
An uninspired effort is often the case in competitions like these that strain fixture dates to the limit.
But there was lots on the line in this one. Vancouver needing at least a draw to keep their hopes going, showed the first signs of coming alive after the break.
In the 56th minute a well placed 35 yard free kick by the Caps midfield general Ricardo Sanchez created some Toronto scrambling to defend. It also alerted the Reds to remember they were here to reduce Vancouver chances to the minimum.
By the 62nd minute mark, Toronto had made all three of their changes, bringing in Nick Garcia for a tired Nana Attakora at the back, Chad Barrett for O’Brien White to ignite an offensive threat and Martin Saric in the mid for Gabe Gala.
Still, the Whitecaps carried most of the play, though little in the way of a dangerous assault on goal. Toronto tried to keep pace, but few efforts were capable of carrying through. It wasn’t until 83 minutes that TFC got their first crack at goal. A hard shot by tireless captain Dwayne De Rosario caused keeper Nolly to come up big to keep his team’s Nutrilite Canadian Championship series hopes alive. Even that effort did not prove enough incentive for the visitors to try finishing it all.
It was the Whitecaps who came up with repeated effort to work the flanks and create chances that wound up little more than a series of Martin Nash taken corners coming to nothing.
Vancouver did not get the result they were after, but the tournament is still alive. Barely.. Should the Whitecaps get by the Impact next Wednesday in Montreal they will still have to beat TFC on their home turf in the final Nutrilite match June 2.
Toronto heads home satisfied they turned in their best away effort in memory, gaining a win in Montreal, a scoreless draw against MLS league leading LA Galaxy, and a tightening of the screws on Vancouver’s plans to lift the Voyageurs Cup.