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Whitecaps throttle Impact in Disney tourney opener

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Eric Hassli
It’s hard to read too much into a preseason game, but Friday night’s Walt Disney World classic opener between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact presented a couple of interesting storylines.

The Whitecaps won the match 3-0, a win which as much the product of Montreal mistakes as it was Vancouver’s attacking prowess. Eric Hassli tapped in a low cross from defender Martin Bonjour, after the Argentine defender was allowed way too much space down the right side.

The second goal, from Jamaican striker Darren Mattocks — the player the Impact passed over in the first round of the SuperDraft — was a well-struck left-footed shot. But Donovan Ricketts, an experienced keeper, had got over to his near post. The shot came from a very tight angle. It hit Ricketts in the hand and still went in. Poor positioning and a hand that wasn’t strong enough for the keepers were the main contributors to the goal.

The third goal came on a penalty from Sebastien Le Toux, after Long Tan was fouled in the area late in the game.

But the real intriguing storylines came from the starting lineups. The teams will face each other again in just two weeks, in what will be the most anticipated of all the MLS First Kick matches for the majority of Canadian soccer fans. The teams have a long, bitter rivalry. So, it was interesting to see what kind of lineups Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie and Impact boss Jesse Marsch would utilize. Would they engage in a bit of gamesmanship and leave some key players on the bench? Or would they go at it with their A-1 lineups?

Really, it was kind of hard to tell. Yes, the Impact started Ricketts — a former MLS goalkeeper of the year — and also began the game with high-profile Canadian signing Patrice Bernier on the pitch. But the Impact is still such a work in progress, that it’s hard to say if the 11 who began the game — which also included 38-year-old striker Eduardo Sebrango and the recently-acquired Lamar Neagle — is really the group of players Marsch has settled on as to be at the top of the depth chart.

As for the Whitecaps, fans must be curious to see how Rennie handles his embarrassment of riches up front. With former Philadelphia Union star Le Toux joining Camilo and Eric Hassli up top, who starts, who sits? For this match, Hassli and Davide Chiumiento were at the top of the 4-4-2, with the French Designated Player as the target man. Atiba Harris and Camilo were also given attacking support roles. Le Toux came off the bench. If Rennie sticks to the 4-4-2 — and that was his preferred formation in Carolina, so it’s hard to see him switching off of it — the question will be how he’ll rotate players through the squad. And we haven’t even begun to discuss NASL MVP Etienne Barbara, out with a hernia problem but expected to stick in Vancouver, and 2011 No. 1 draft pick Omar Salgado.

Chiumiento had to leave the game just after the 20-minute mark with back spasms.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
?1.Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee (32.Greg Klazura 63′), 15.Martin Bonjour (19.Carlyle Mitchell 63′), 6.Jay DeMerit (3.Jordan Harvey 63′), 4.Alain Rochat; 9.Atiba Harris (13.Michael Nanchoff 63′), 27.Jun Marques Davidson (16.Matt Watson 63′), 11.John Thorrington (28.Gershon Koffie 45′), 37.Camilo Sanvezzo (31.Russell Teibert 63′); 20.Davide Chiumiento (22.Darren Mattocks 24′, 23.Long Tan 80′), 29.Eric Hassli (7.Sebastien Le Toux 63′)

Montreal Impact
?1.Donovan Ricketts; 15.Jeb Brovsky (29. Calum Mallace 77′), 13.Matteo Ferrari (3. Shavar Thomas, 62′), 5.Tyson Wahl (Hassoun Camara 77′, Karl Ouimette 82′), 31.Josh Gardner (38. Gienir Garcia 77′; 22.Davy Arnaud (18. Collen Warner 77′), 7.Felipe (14. Gerson Mayen 77′), 8.Patrice Bernier (Bryan Arguez 77′), 25.Lamar Neagle (28. Sinisa Ubiparipovic); 12.Eduardo Sebrango (26. Mike Fucito 72′), 32.Miguel Montano (33. Andrew Wenger, 67′)

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