With a match against defending League Champion Seattle Sounders FC on the weekend, Vancouver Whitecaps FC manager Carl Robinson elected to field a weakened side against visiting division two side FC Edmonton. That decision could come back to haunt him, as the Rabbits hopped out to an early lead thanks to a 4th minute Tomi Ameobi strike.
With former Manchester United man Ritchie Jones, Edmonton's Captain on the night, and Ameobi double teaming Gershon Koffie, the Ghanaian lost out, and the home side trailed by one.
The Ghanaian would redeem himself with an 87th minute equaliser, but the Rabbits still walked away with a narrow advantage. A home win, or a scoreless draw on Wednesday at Clarke Field would see the Rabbits advance to the final against Montreal.
We don't know what kind of an eleven Robinson will field next week, we don't even know who's available. While the Canadian Soccer Association usually releases squad lists for the competition, this year it was conspicuously absent. A visit to their website's roster page had not been updated since 2014.
Regardless of the squad, we're confident that the Caps will be able to get the job done on Wednesday. As the Rabbits learned, one can only adopt a siege mentality for so long. Eventually, cracks begin to appear, the wall comes tumbling down, and the gates are laid open.
Towards the end, Edmonton used every trick in the book to slow the game down, to eat up the clock. Whenever they sensed contact, they hit the turf. And we must commend them for their diligence. The turf at BC Place is not what we would call kind. But down they went.
At the Draft, Tim Parker was described as the player who was most ready for the Major League, and tonight it showed. He gave a man of the match performance, winning headers, organising the defence, and showing the leadership abilities that saw him Captain St. John's University last year.
Unfortunately, Sam Adekugbe had to leave the match in the 17th minute with what we're hearing is a right ankle strain. He immediately went to the locker room, and returned at halftime on crutches and wearing a protective boot. Hopefully he can make a speedy recovery.
As good as Jordan Harvey is, we wonder if at 31 years of age, he can be the sole left back on a side as busy as the Whitecaps. He played the full ninety against Philadelphia on Saturday, 73 minutes tonight, and the Caps have the Sounders, Rabbits, and Rapids to deal with next week. That's almost five full matches over a two week period.
And for those who are thinking of making the trip to Edmonton (again), the weather forecast for Wednesday is sunny with a high of 19°, low of 6°, and only a 10% probability of precipitation.
But before that, the Caps have to host the Sounders in a Cascadia Cup clash on Saturday night at BC Place.