Last week in Ottawa, Vancouver Whitecaps FC were battered, and they were beaten. They returned home with tails firmly tucked between legs, where they would need to reverse a 2-goal deficit.
Vancouver had gone into that first leg thinking that they could rest some players. They are after all the defending Champions of Canada, and they finished 3rd in the Major League last year. But Ottawa Fury FC were no pushovers. It took three tiebreakers to separate them from New York Cosmos, and they were Cup Finalists last year.
Fielding a nearly full strength squad, the 'Caps didn't waste any time in the second leg. Nicolás Mezquida won a 3rd minute penalty after Rafael Alves pushed him down in the box. Pedro Morales calmly sent Ottawa goalkeeper Romuald Peiser the wrong way, and cut the deficit in half.
Less than twenty minutes later, Mezquida erased that deficit when he converted a nifty cross from Octavio Rivero.
Alphonso Davies, a 15-year old striker from Liberia making his first professional start, would have sent the crowd of 17,863 into rapture had it not been for the woodwork. But there was a sense of when the third goal would come, not if.
With Mezquida earning the penalty for Morales, and Rivero setting up Mezquida, it was only fitting that Morales set up Rivero for that goal in the 52nd minute.
The 'Caps came in needing to win by three to advance. And they did just that. It took some effort on part of the defence, a few great saves from Paolo Tornaghi, but they did it. They are still in the Voyageurs Cup.
As usual, the final will be contested over two legs, the first being in Toronto on June 21st, and the second back in Vancouver on June 29th.