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Karma plays massive role in deciding the NCC title

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Whether or not you believe in any particular deity, ghosts, talismans or luck, you couldn’t shake the feeling that some greater power had an influence over the deciding game of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.

What will go down as the most thrilling, event-filled match in the four-year history of this tournament had a terrific sense of cosmic balance, after the initial attempt to play the second leg of the final was washed away by a severe thunderstorm six weeks ago.

Toronto FC got the Cup with a 2-1 win, but Whitecaps fans can’t feel jobbed.

Camilo scored on an audacious free kick to give the Whitecaps the lead after 21 minutes. In the abandoned match, Eric Hassli scored after 17 minutes.

After the first half ended, Vancouver had exactly the same scoreline at halftime of the original second leg, which is really when that game should have been called.

Then, a series of likely poor calls combined to produce exactly the right result.

Late in the first half, Jay DeMerit slid to clear an attempt from TFC striker Javier Martina off the line. But, did he actually get to the rolling, bobbling ball before it had completely crossed the line. The only camera angle available was not 100 per cent conclusive, even though it certainly looked like the ball had made just one revolution past the line. Problem? DeMerit’s sliding body obscured the goal line on the camera shot.

And, remember that, when a ball bobbles, even a little, it creates an optical illusion. The camera is shooting back towards the goal line. And, if the ball lifts up at all, the viewers will see the goal line underneath it, and it will appear to be over the line when, in fact, it isn’t.

But enough with the physics lesson. While the goal wasn’t given, and the replay wasn’t 100-per cent conclusive, it’s safe to assume that even 99 per cent of Whitecaps fans would allow that the ball had likely crossed the line.

But an error from official Dave Gantar in the second half allowed TFC to get that goal back.

Joao Plata got two cracks at burying a penalty before equalizing. Gantar was correct in his decision to allow the tournament MVP the chance to shoot again after Whitecaps keeper Joe Cannon made the save on the first attempt. Cannon was clearly two steps off the line before Plata struck the ball. Right call.

The issue was if TFC should have had the penalty at all. Plata clearly handled the ball before he was fouled in the penalty area. But, by giving the Reds the chance to equalize, Gantar had inadvertently restored the balance.

Vancouver had the same lead at halftime as it did at halftime of the first leg. For the Whitecaps, they can look back to the slew of missed chances in the first leg at Empire Field, rather than the rainout from six weeks ago.

In the end, justice was done, even though the teams took awfully crooked paths to get there.

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