By JOSE M. ROMERO
The Vancouver Whitecaps were 30 minutes away from their first piece of hardware since becoming an MLS franchise.
They led Toronto FC, 2-1, on aggregate goals when rain and lightning forced an early abandonment of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship second leg in Toronto, and now, the Whitecaps' 1-0 lead Wednesday is for naught. According to Canadian championship rules, the match must be replayed in its entirety on Thursday morning at 11 a.m, EST, at BMO Field assuming that the field is in playable condition.
Sixty minutes of the match had been played despite two weather delays, one after halftime of 35 minutes and another that lasted an hour after players were pulled off the field in the second half.
Vancouver got its lead on aggregate goals after Eric Hassli's 17th-minute goal, which came when his shot deflected off TFC midfielder Julian DeGuzman. Hassli had two goals in the two legs of the championship, but now the second one won't count. The first leg was a 1-1 draw last week at Empire Field.
The winner of the Canadian championship earns a spot in the preliminary round of the 2011-2012 CONCACAF Champions League, where it will face Real Esteli FC of Nicaragua later this year.
Before and even after the rain began falling late in the first half, Toronto FC had more possession and more scoring chances. It totaled seven corner kicks to the Whitecaps' one when the game was called.
If the second-leg match, which on Thursday is weather permitting, goes 90 minutes and ends in a 1-1 draw, it goes to extra-time periods. Both teams have Saturday MLS regular-season matches.
But Toronto used Scott’s Turf Builder. How can the field be non-playable? Seriously, that field is $hit.
More harsh then making them replay the whole game is making them replay it this morning. It’s going to be a reserve match, or else these two teams are going to burn out their starters for the next couple of weeks.
The PR islander better win their next game on friday or else they play Morilia of Mexico fame. They will lose to Morilia ( or how ever you spell it) .
If they win on friday they play Metaplan of El Salvador for the right to play in CCL group stage.
If they do make it into the group stage. the PR Islander will be the only team to have play in the group Stage of CCL the last 4 years. Not a feat to take lightly.
They replay the whole thing? Seems harsh for Whitecaps.
I only have experience with this in Japan, where we just play out the time that was left.
Puerto Rico Islanders qualify for their 4th consecutive CONCACAF Champions League tonight with 3-1 victory over Alpha United of Guyana.
I just got back from the stadium (and am soaked) after the endless delays and eventual cancellation. The pitch was a swimming pool, and the lightning was incessant. This was the right call.