Ryan Nelsen’s Toronto FC are no stranger to winning championships. But when you’re talking about championships for Toronto FC, you’re talking about the Amway Canadian Championship, the passport to the CONCACAF Champions League. It will be all hands on deck for the Reds, who play with house money when they clash with Carl Robinson’s Vancouver Whitecaps, tonight at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, B.C.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Sportsnet One. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for the second leg of the Canadian Championship semifinals between Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
1. At least 35 fouls and three cards
We have an intense match coming your way in the Pacific Northwest. The MLS Multiplex is calling for at least 35 fouls whistled and at least three cards issued.
2. No goals for Pedro Morales
People who have followed Vancouver’s very own Pedro Morales know that he can turn it up in big games. Unfortunately, Pedro will be phoning this result in. No goals or assists for Morales in this game.
3. Here comes Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe needs no introduction. Here is a player with years of championship experience, and a man with excellent leadership qualities. With Defoe out of the running for a spot on the England national team for Brazil 2014, the focus will be on Defoe to step up hois production for Toronto FC. Defoe will score a brace.
4. Michael Bradley tunes up
This match may be one of the few matches Michael Bradley will have for the Reds before he temporarity calls time for USA Men’s National Team duty. Look for Bradley to record a goal and an assist.
5. Kekuta Manneh on goal for Vancouver
Kekuta Manneh did give the Whitecaps some sort of hope in the first leg last week, but that will be short-lived. Manneh will score for Vancouver, but he won’t do much after that.
6. Darren Mattocks won’t make the scoresheet
Darren Mattocks needs to be on his game to help the Whitecaps, but this is a contest where Toronto’s backline will prove too strong. There will be no goals or assist from Mattocks in this match.
7. Julio Cesar with at least five saves
Julio Cesar will get the start for Toronto FC in goal, and with Vancouver bringing in an aggresive package, Cesar will step up to the challenge and make at least five saves.
8. David Ousted with under five saves
As for Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted, it would be literal suicide if Robinson did not start Ousted, especially in a game like this. So look for the Danish dynamite to make some saves, but not a lot. The Plex calls for under five.
9. No goals for Jonathan Osorio
There will be other opportunities for Toronto FC young gun Jonathan Osorio, but here, he won’t be getting on the scoresheet. Osorio will be shut out on the scoresheet, but on the Opta Chalkboard, he will put up some good passing stats.
10. Toronto FC walks all over Vancouver
With Jermain Defoe listed as a stand-by, the England international will look to send a message to Roy Hodgson: “Ignore me at your own peril.” Toronto FC rides on Defoe’s. shoulders to a convincing aggregate win.
Toronto FC 3, Vancouver Whitecaps 1
Toronto FC wins on aggregate 5-2