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Whitecaps have done their homework on FC Edmonton

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While Wednesday’s first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal marks the first time that FC Edmonton and the Whitecaps will face each other competitively, Vancouver coach Martin Rennie is all too familiar with the Eddies.

Last season, Rennie steered the Carolina RailHawks through four matches with FC Edmonton, games that saw skirmishes in tunnel, a red card to ex-Eddie John Jonke (who knocked then-RailHawk current-Whitecap Matt Watson head over heels with a late tackle), Eddies’ goalie Lance Parker suffer a compound fracture to his arm and a truly strange waving off of an Etienne Barbara goal because an Edmonton fan blew a whistle from the stands.

And Rennie saw it all from the coaches’ box. But, despite the scuffles and cards, he didn’t think that the rivalry was all that overheated — and he doesn’t see it carrying over to the Whitecaps-FCE game.

“I don’t think the games (Carolina-Edmonton) were very nasty,” said Rennie before the Whitecaps worked out at Commonwealth Stadium Tuesday. “To me, they were very good games between two good teams.”

And, even though the RailHawks and FCE saw plenty of each other than last year — and Rennie brought a large contingent of players with him from Carolina to Vancouver — the rivalry shouldn’t spill over. Rennie only brought two ex-RailHawks — back-up keeper Brad Knighton and midfielder Floyd Franks, on the trip to Edmonton.

Rennie left regular starting midfielders Jun Marques Davidson and Watson at home. Defenders Lee Young-Pyo and Jay DeMerit stayed behind. Injured attacker Camilo also didn’t make the trip.

But the Whitecaps who did make the trip said they wouldn’t be treating playing an NASL team like a friendly.

“We are going to give everything we have,” said defender Jordan Harvey. “We want to win the game, bad.”

Midfielder John Thorrington said, because of the coaching staff’s Carolina history, that Edmonton is “not an unknown quantity to us.” The Whitecaps have done their homework on the opponent.

“The game is all about the approach. History has shown us: Favourite, underdog, when there’s a lot on the line, a lot at stake, the will to win is important.”

And, Rennie is aware that Edmonton has brought in a slew of new players, such as right back Fabrice Lassonde, midfielder Serisay Barthelemy and Chilean striker Yashir Pinto, on loan from Colo-Colo. So, to get the scoop on the new players, he consulted his special crew of consultants.

“A lot of my friends coach in NASL. And, from them I have a good idea of how FC Edmonton has played till now.”

Vancouver roster for May 2

Goalkeepers
Joe Cannon
Brad Knighton

Defenders
Martin Bonjour
Jordan Harvey
Greg Klazura
Carlyle Mitchell
Alain Rochat

Midfielders
Davide Chiumiento
Floyd Franks
Gershon Koffie
Michael Nanchoff
Russell Teibert
John Thorrington

Strikers

Atiba Harris
Eric Hassli
Sebastien Le Toux
Omar Salgado
Long Tan


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