Photo: Eric Avila looks to get by Vancouver's Alain Rochat in first leg of Voyageurs Cup Final (Getty).
TORONTO – Toronto FC will hope to lift the Voyageurs Cup for the fourth consecutive time on Wednesday in the Amway Canadian Championship Final against Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Sportsnet One, 8 p.m. ET).
There was no holiday rest for the Reds. Head coach Aron Winter put his team through a training session on Victoria Day (Monday) behind closed doors. Toronto returns to the pitch for another training day Tuesday before media availability.
The Reds hold a slight advantage in the tie, having drawn 1-1 in Vancouver last Wednesday. With the away goal in its pocket, a scoreless draw or win would send Toronto through to the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League with the lone Canadian spot in the continent’s top club tournament.
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Video: Eric Avila after Saturday's D.C. defeat.
In the last edition of CCL, Toronto established a new benchmark for Canadian clubs by reaching the semifinals of the competition, before bowing out to Mexican champion Santos Laguna.
Level heading into Wednesday, Toronto and Vancouver are experiencing vastly different fortunes in MLS. Reds lost its ninth straight match to start the season, 3-1 to D.C. United on Saturday. That same day Vancouver held Seattle to a 2-2 draw, even managing to rest top attackers Eric Hassli and Camilo from the start.
“Wednesday is the cup and it’s the final and we’re going to go all out,” Toronto midfielder Eric Avila said Saturday. “It feels like we are just playing for one thing – the cup – but it’s really not.”
Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie praised his youngsters Darren Mattocks and Omar Salgado for leading the line on Saturday. “Mattocks was fantastic,” the coach boasted. “He caused (Seattle) all sorts of problems, as did Omar on the other side.”
Toronto defeated Montreal Impact 2-0 on aggregate while Vancouver beat FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League 5-1 over two legs to reach Wednesday’s final.
The last time Toronto lost a game in this tournament was in Vancouver on June 2, 2009. The Whitecaps also have the distinction of being the only team in the Voyageurs Cup to beat Toronto at BMO Field. That happened back on Canada Day – July 1 – in 2008.
Toronto FC will have training notes via Twitter on Tuesday, with full player & coach interviews to follow on Toronto FC TV.
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