CANADIAN CUP CLASH SET

- May 15th, 2012

Stories that appeared in Wednesday’s Sun

Larson: Vancouver determined to claim Voyageurs glory

TORONTO - A rematch of last year’s Canadian Cup final should be viewed as a win-win situation for Toronto supporters.

Whichever way tonight’s opening leg ends at BC Place, the two-match series will conclude the year-long lamenting by some Vancouverites who refuse to recognize TFC as the rightful Voyageurs Cup holders.

“It just wasn’t meant to be for Vancouver last year with the lightning and games called off,” said Terry Dunfield, who started both Cup matches against the Reds last season.

The Canadian international was in the opposite locker room when a freak storm forced a second-leg replay despite Vancouver leading in the match.

“This is a Canadian derby and a final,” Dunfield said. “You’re only two games away from winning the Cup. If you do win it leads to bigger and better things as we saw … There’s nothing more that I want then to go back to Vancouver and win the Canadian Cup.”

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KICKOFF

MARQUEE MATCHUP

Ryan Johnson vs. Jay DeMerit

With Koevermans nowhere near match fit, the Jamaican will likely get one more start in place of the Dutch target as TFC’s furthest player forward. After scoring his first goal since the end of march in a 2-0 win over Montreal, Johnson looks set to do battle with one of the top centre backs in MLS. Rennie left DeMerit off Vancouver’s east coast trip which means the U.S. World Cup veteran will be ready for battle. Just ask Maicon Santos how it felt during last year’s Cup final to have DeMerit constantly tugging at his shirt. Expect DeMerit to limit Johnson’s time on the ball and frustrate him throughout. The Jamaican must take advantage of the limited chances he’ll be given if he’s to bag a critical away goal.

TFC KEYS

ROAD GOAL: Had Santos not found an away goal during last year’s opening leg, the Reds now famous run through CONCACAF wouldn’t have happened. As the ‘Caps have significantly more quality than Montreal, it’s unlikely they’ll hold Vancouver scoreless in either leg. As a result, bagging an away goal — the first tie-breaker — will be critical.

THE FIRST 30: Coming off an embarrassing defeat, expect Vancouver to come out flying against a weakened rival that will be without its captain and starting right back. But if Toronto manages to hold Vancouver through the first half-hour, the ‘Caps will likely pull a few men back in order to prevent conceding at home. Getting through the first 30 minutes will be critical to setting the Reds up to advance from the second leg at BMO Field.

MATCH FACTS

-It was this time last year former ‘Caps coach Teitur Thordarson was stomping around a flooded BMO Field in disbelief after Mother Nature drowned his chances of winning Vancouver’s first Voyageurs Cup. Leading the return leg 1-0 (2-1 aggregate) in the second half, torrential rain and dangerous lightning forced a replay that would see Toronto lift its third straight Canadian title.

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