After losing their third consecutive Major League Soccer match and second straight home game on Saturday against New England, Toronto FC have a real test ahead of them on Wednesday night. The Reds will take on a Vancouver Whitecaps side that has not lost in three matches and is hot off the heels of beating San Jose Saturday night. Some have already begun to call for head coach Ryan Nelsen`s job, but it is still very early and Wednesday will be a good opportunity to prove his worth.
Toronto FC have won 4 of the inaugural 6 Canadian Championship competitions, but for most of those tournaments, they were the only Major League Soccer side. Vancouver has never won the Voyageurs Cup but has been the runner-up for the last five consecutive tournaments. They will come into Toronto on Wednesday night on a mission and hungry to qualify for the franchise`s first ever CONCACAF Champions League.
With Toronto FC having a bye in MLS action next weekend, it is unsure whether Nelsen will go with a full strength lineup against Vancouver, or whether he will elect to give playing time to some of the team`s younger players. Rookie defender Nick Hagglund has only started once this season and he looked very impressive in a 2-0 win at Crew Stadium against Columbus. This could be a chance for Hagglund to log some playing time and make his BMO Field debut.
Vancouver are not quite as fortunate as Toronto and will have to travel to Columbus from Toronto to take on a Crew side that is currently sitting second in the East. Toronto has been the only team to hand Columbus a loss on home soil this season and it will be interesting to see how Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson decides to rotate his squad around the Canadian Championship fixtures.
Toronto and Vancouver will also meet a week later in Vancouver for the second leg of the AMWAY Canadian Championship Semifinal. The winner will play the winner of the other semis between the Montreal Impact and NASL side, FC Edmonton.