Home Global Game Europe Whitecaps edge TFC reserves, Impact downs Hacken

Whitecaps edge TFC reserves, Impact downs Hacken

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Camilo
Toronto FC used a lineup filled with reserves, kids and trialists. But, how close was the Vancouver Whitecaps team that coach Martin Rennie started Saturday in the final of the preseason Walt Disney World Classic to the squad we will see face the Montreal Impact next weekend in MLS First Kick?

The Whitecaps won the preseason tournament with a 1-0 result over Toronto FC, as Camilo weaved through a group of TFC teenagers and then scored from a very tight angle.

But the result was expected. With Toronto FC playing the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final in midweek, coach and technical director Aron Winter gave any player you’d expect to see at the Rogers Centre — either in the starting XI or on the bench — the chance to fly home early.

The only two players you’d consider to be regulars who saw time in the Disney final — forward Nick Soolsma and midfielder Eric Avila — aren’t eligible to play on Wednesday against the Galaxy. Avila, who appeared earlier in the CCL with FC Dallas, is Cup-tied, while Soolsma is suspended.

With both keepers in Winter’s fold — Milos Kocic and Stefan Frei — not in Orlando, Quillan Roberts, most famous for scoring a goal against England in last year’s U-17 World Cup, got the start for TFC in goal.

So, with Academy players, trialists and the like playing for the Reds, the Whitecaps did as expected. Had the Whitecaps started anything close to a regular lineup — which they did — they’d be expected to win.

Unlike TFC, the Whitecaps don’t have a game in the middle of the week. The Caps don’t play till next Saturday, so it’s time to speculate just how close the team Rennie ran out in Orlando will be the to the one that plays at B.C. Place for First Kick.

If it is, it would show that Rennie hasn’t allowed the number of flashy attacking players signed by the team in the offseason to change his philosophy. When he ran the Carolina RailHawks, his midfield was physical, filled with ball-winners and players who weren’t afraid of cards. Other teams hated to play the RailHawks.

Designated Player Eric Hassli and first-round draft pick Darren Mattocks, the two incumbent forwards from last season, were at the top of Rennie’s 4-4-2. Meanwhile, the midfield was shored up by the physical presences of Gershon Koffie, Atiba Harris and Jun Marques Davidson. Of the four men in the middle, three are hard tacklers, physical players who aren’t beautiful practitioners of the beautiful game. Rennie’s team had far more steel than style.

And, that’s close to the kind of midfield Rennie assembled in Carolina.

Rennie had the likes of Davide Chiumiento, who has been troubled by back spasms in camp, and Sebastien Le Toux, who was the team’s biggest off-season acquisition, at his disposal. Neither of those players were part of the starting XI.

If Rennie sticks with this mentality into the season, a heck of a lot of striking talent will be on the bench. The Whitecaps won’t be as flashy as we expected them to be, but they will have more steel than they showed last season.

Earlier in the day, the Montreal Impact finished off its preseason with a 1-0 win over Swedish side BK Hacken, as both teams remained in Florida despite being eliminated from the Disney Classic at the group stage.

The Impact got a second-half goal from Eduardo Sebrango, who will turn 39 during the MLS season. The veteran of North American Division-2 play came on at halftime along with Italian trialist Bernardo Corradi, the 30-year-old Serie A veteran best known for forming one of Italy’s best strike partnerships with Claudio Lopez at Lazio nearly a decade ago.

Miguel Montano, the ex-Seattle Sounder who joined the Impact last season during the club’s final NASL campaign, struck the bar in the second half.

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