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Whitecaps begin bid for Canadian Championship in Toronto

TORONTO (NEWS1130) – The Whitecaps begin a home-and-home series with Toronto FC in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal tonight. The two teams will meet again next Wednesday in Vancouver. The winner of the leg will advance to the final to play either Edmonton or Montreal in June.

The Whitecaps will employ a very young squad for tonight’s game. Only five players on Vancouver’s 23-man roster are above the age of 25 and starting goalie Marco Carducci is only 17-years old. Whitecaps Head Coach Carl Robinson sees tonight’s game as an opportunity to get a look at Vancouver’s upcoming talent.

“I love young players. With that comes a enthusiasm, a youthfulness and an energy and I think you’ve seen that this season. With that comes inconsistency and I understand that as well. I am willing to work with these guys when they are inconsistent because the upside not just in the short term, but the medium and long term will be huge for me and the club.”

Even though the Caps are fielding a young team, Robinson insists they won’t be shy in pressing for a goal on the road.

“We want to keep the same philosophy throughout the club. That won’t change. We will try to be attacking. We will try and possess the ball. It might slightly vary because we are away from home, but we won’t set up to play for 0-0. We will set up to try and score because if we score one, they have to score two to beat us and I think you have seen that is how we play in games.”

While this tournament may not count in the MLS standings, Robinson says when you have a shot to win a tournament, you have to take it.

“I think it is a chance for us to win a trophy. When you set your goals at the start of the season you want to win every game. You want to win the playoffs, you want to win the Cascadia Cup and you want to win the Amway Canadian Championship, so it is very important to win. Having said that, I will play young players because I have a young squad anyways. It gives me a chance to evaluate some of my other players.”

The Whitecaps are seeking their first Canadian Championship title. They have finished as the runners-up in five straight years.

Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. and you can watch the game on Sportsnet One.