Young players get shot for Whitecaps
Vancouver Whitecaps forward Kekuta Manneh (23) is congratulated after scoring against San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch (18) (not pictured) during the first half at BC Place in Vancouver, May 3, 2014. The Vancouver Whitecaps won 3-2. (PHOTO: ANNE-MARIE SORVIN-USA TODAY SPORTS)
Gone is Kenny Miller, but there's no time to reflect or regret.
An important Canadian Championship game awaits the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Coming off a 3-2 league win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday at BC Place, the club is already in Ontario as they get set to face Toronto FC on Wednesday in the first leg of the semifinals. The second leg is May 14 back in Vancouver.
"It's very important that we're going in there to win," head coach Carl Robinson said, knowing full well of Vancouver's failures in recent years in this tournament. "Having said that I will play young players. This gives me another chance to evaluate my younger players in the squad.
"With my young group of players, the philosophy won't change … we'll try to be attacking, we'll try to possess the ball. We won't set up to play for nil-nil. If we score one, then they'll need to score two to beat us."
The team will certainly feature more Canadian content on Wednesday with 17-year-old goalkeeper Marco Carducci making his debut with the Whitecaps while 22-year-old midfielder Bryce Alderson also getting the start.
"With that comes an enthusiasm, a youthfulness and an energy, and you saw that on Saturday," Robinson said of a different-looking lineup. "But with that comes inconsistency, and I'm willing to work with these guys because the upside on them not just in the short term, but the medium and long term will be huge for me and the club."
For a player like Carducci, getting his first professional start in this type of game and in Canada definitely means a little more.
"It's the same for all the Canadians and it's a great opportunity for us to show ourselves," Carducci said. "I'm going to treat it like every other game and not make too much of it, but of course at the same time I'm going to be very excited and anxious for that — which is natural."
Note: Striker Darren Mattocks will be out for a "few weeks" after suffering a hamstring injury in Saturday's game.