USL club Vancouver assumed control of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship by beating MLS's Toronto, 2-0, Tuesday at Swangard Stadium to all but clinch a spot in
the 2009-10 Concacaf Champions League. Ansu Toure
scored on either side of halftime to lift the Whitecaps - defending USL-1 champions - into first place of the
three-team group with a 3-1-0 (W-L-T) record and nine points. Toronto (2-1-0, 6 points) lost for the first time in the competition and meets Montreal June 18 needing not only a win but some help in
the tiebreaker process to edge out Vancouver.
Since the teams split their two meetings, goal difference will be used as the tiebreaker if TFC beats Montreal. By winning, 2-0, Vancouver
improved its goal difference to plus 4 and reduced TFC's to zero, meaning Toronto needs at least a four-goal victory - in Montreal -- to advance. The Impact (0-3-0), which represented Canada in the
2008-9 CCL and courageously reached the quarterfinals, was eliminated in its second game last week.
If the teams tie on goal difference, the next tiebreaker is goals scored, which
Vancouver leads with five. In three games, Toronto has scored twice, and so would edge out the Whitecaps with a 4-0 win, since its plus-4 goal difference would be six goals scored minus two goals
allowed. But since no team in the five games played to date in the competition has scored more than two goals, TFC's task appears nearly hopeless.
Needing only a tie to clinch the
title and a spot in the CCL, Toronto fell behind to a Toure goal in the 31st minute. Keeper Greg Sutton
, who got the start in place of Stefan Frei
parried a shot from Wes Knight right into the path of Toure, who scored his first goal for the club since arriving from Miami during the offseason.
TFC, missing internationals
(USA) and Amado Guevara
(Honduras), nearly equalized on several occasions. Vancouver keeper Jay Nolly
fumbled a shot but no TFC player
could get to the loose ball, and in the 38 th minute defender Lyle Martin
saved a goal by racing behind Sutton to knock away a chip by Dwayne DeRosario. Three minutes later,
's shot hit the goalpost.
Forward Chad Barrett
, whose squandered chances are testing the patience of TFC fans, failed to put away a pair of
headers and Vancouver punished his team's misses in the 81st minute when Toure blasted his second goal. Charles Gbeke
set up the chance for Toure, who drilled a shot past Sutton from
just inside the penalty area.
Vancouver posted its crucial victory without captain Martin Nash
, who sat out a one-game suspension. TFC defender Kevin
incurred his second caution of the competition and will miss the game in Montreal. Nutrilite Canadian Championship June 2 in Burnaby, B.C.
2, Toronto FC 0. Goals:
Toure 31, Toure (Gbeke) 81. Vancouver -
Nolly, Charles, Hirano, Martin, Parke, Knight, Toure, Gage (Trafford 58),
Chin, Haber (Versaille 83), Gbeke. Toronto -
Sutton, Attakora, Serioux, Harmse (Velez 84), Brennan (Smith 84), Robinson, Cronin, Vitti, Barrett (Ricketts 67), Dichio, De