The battle for the north and the chance to lift the Voyageurs Cup is now down to the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC.
Trying to knock away the woes of early season, TFC is looking to be the first team to record a second three-peat in Canadian Championship history. On their side, the Whitecaps will try to join their two MLS rivals as teams that have won the tournament more than once.
Heading to Vancouver, Greg Vanney’s squad have been better than ever this season. After a dreadful start to their season, kickstarted by a loss in the Concacaf Champions League final, TFC is now on a five-game unbeaten streak. However, their main offensive threat, Italian striker Sebastian Giovinco, has not made the trip out west for the first leg of the final.
Another setback for the two-time reigning champion will be dealing with the Whitecaps’ red-hot young star Alphonso Davies. The Canadian international did not play the semifinal round, he out completing the deal that will bring him to Bayern Munich in 2019.
For Vanney, TFC’s Champions League experience has given his team the tools to contain Davies during the final.
“It’s the same way when we were playing Champions League and they had wingers who were very good on one-on-one situations,” Vanney said during a press crum in Vancouver. “We just gotta be smart on how we manage him and work collectively as a group and defend as a group.”
For the Whitecaps, Davies’ return is a pleasant addition to a rematch of the 2016 Canadian Championship final. A win would mean a first trophy for him as a member of the Whitecaps senior team.
Contrasting what is being done on the Toronto side, the Whitecaps decided to rest one of their best offensive threats last weekend. Kei Kamara did not make the trip to Yankee Stadium and Davies only played 36 minutes in a 2-2 draw to New York City FC.
For Kamara, this is an opportunity to win a first trophy since lifting the US Open Cup with Sporting Kansas City in 2012.
“There’s a lot of guys that haven’t won championships before,” Kamara said in a media scrum in Vancouver. “We walk into this facility every day, there’s a big picture from when the team won the cup and there’s probably three or four players that’s been there before.”
“So hopefully we can change that and some of us can be on that picture.”
The Whitecaps will host Toronto FC at 10 pm ET for the first leg and the two teams will meet up for the return leg next Wednesday at 7:30 pm ET.