BY MIKE DONOVAN
The Vancouver Whitecaps got two late goals to prevent an embarrassing loss to FC Edmonton in the first leg of the Canadian Championship semifinals. Trailing 2-1 for the majority of the match, Vancouver scored the tying goal in the 84 minute off a Camilo penalty kick. Four minutes later, Tommy Heinemann delivered the winner off a cross from Nigel Reo-Coker.
While some thought the Caps might rest their regulars, their lineup featured quite a few of their top-flight players including Reo-Coker, Daigo Kobayashi, and Andy O’Brien.
The second leg will take place Wednesday when Vancouver takes on the NASL side at BC Place. The winner of the semifinals will take on the winner of Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact for a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Here are some more news and notes from around the Western Conference heading into MLS Week Nine action:
Chivas USA has missed penalty kicks in consecutive games, but they do not believe they have a glaring weakness. Despite this, they have been taking some practice time to work on their shots from the spot.
Jose Correa saw his PK bounce off the crossbar against the Colorado Rapids on April 13, while Edgar Mejia was stopped by RSL’s Nick Rimando on Saturday.
Marvell Wynne has become the ninth Colorado Rapid to go down injured this season after hurting his right leg in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders. Wynne has been diagnosed with a right quad strain and will miss Colorado’s upcoming match with the Houston Dynamo.
Wynne had started every match for the Rapids this season. He will likely be replaced by Shane O’Neill. The homegrown player was originally meant to join the US U-20s for a week-long camp but was held back by Colorado due to their injury woes.
For the first time since 2009, FC Dallas will take on the same opponent in back-to-back regular season games. The club will head to Canada to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps just one week after defeating them 2-0 at Pizza Hut Park.
However, the team knows it will be a different game due to a variety of factors including crowd noise, travel, and artificial turf. The Western Conference leaders are 1-1-1 on the road this season and could potentially go ten points clear of the next best Western Conference team if they get the victory.
Backup goalkeeper Brian Perk, who underwent sports hernia surgery on March 16, has returned to training and hopes to see the field in Sunday’s reserve match against Real Salt Lake. Perk is trying to regain the second-string keeper spot behind Carlo Cudicini from Brian Rowe. Perk hasn’t seen the field in any match since a preseason match against Club Tijuana on February 19.
Will Johnson was absent from training this week as he visits his father, according to head coach Caleb Porter. Johnson will rejoin the club in Kansas City before Portland’s match with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night.
REAL SALT LAKE
Matches between MLS reserves and USL Pro teams are meant to help players from both squads help develop against good competition. However, a fight overshadowed a clash earlier this week between the RSL reserves and Phoenix FC.
Late in the first half, a melee started in front of the Phoenix FC net. After the sides were finally separated, three players were shown red cards for their actions. The players sent to the locker room early were RSL’s Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Phoenix FC’s Andrew Weber and Renan Boufleur.
This is the first season of an partnership between the two leagues to provide more matches for MLS reserve teams.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The main supporters group of the Earthquakes was placed on indefinite probation by the club after an incident before the April 14 match in Portland. According to a Portland Police statement, a group of San Jose fans jumped on a car and smashed a windshield after exchanging words with the driver. Other punishments handed down by the Earthquakes include the suspension of away game travel and the banning of in-game smoke bombs.
One week after being cut by the Sounders, Andrew Duran took the field against them as a guest player of the San Jose Earthquake reserves. The former first-round pick has yet to play in league game after tearing his ACL last season.
Duran was waived to make way for rookie Will Bates and told the Seattle Times that his situation is “just the way the game goes sometimes.”