Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, BC (attendance: 6,056)
The Whitecaps opened their two-game total-goal Western Conference Final against Milwaukee with a disappointing scoreless tie. Vancouver must now win it on the road in Saturday's return leg in Milwaukee. The Whitecaps have won their two other road playoff games this year, however Vancouver is 1-6-0 in Milwaukee dating back to 1997.
The winner of this series will host the A-League Championship Final, it was announced today. If Vancouver advances, the Final will be played at Swangard Stadium, on Saturday September 28, in a 5:00 p.m. start.
Vancouver had the best chances in a tightly contested and scoreless first half. Defender Geordie Lyall had a crisp header saved in the first minute, while in the 25th minute Milwaukee star defender Destin Makumbu did well to block a powerful first-time shot from forward Dave Morris from 8 yards.
In the second half Milwaukee striker John Wolyniec was twice denied by goalkeeper Jim Larkin who in the 49th minute pushed wide a shot labelled for the top corner, and in the 76th minute came out to save Wolyniec's shot on a partial breakaway. Vancouver applied pressure in the closing stages, but the Caps were unable to break down a well organised Rampage defence. Milwaukee is the highest seeded team remaining in the playoffs, after finishing 3rd overall during the regular season.
The Whitecaps were without defender Chris Franks who sat out with a hamstring injury. Vancouver midfielder Oliver Heald received a costly yellow card in the 45th minute, his third of the playoffs, meaning he will have to sit out the return leg in Milwaukee. Goalkeeper Jim Larkin earned his 4th shutout in five playoff games.
The crowd of 6,056 was the largest since last year's playoffs. Saturday's return leg in Milwaukee is a 5:00 p.m. start Pacific Time. The game will not be broadcast in any form that can be picked up in Vancouver.
In the Eastern Conference Final Thursday night, the Rochester Raging Rhinos and Richmond Kickers played to a 1-1 tie in Richmond. Game two of their series goes Saturday in Rochester.
G: Jim Larkin
D: Geordie Lyall, Kevan Cameron (Nico Craveiro 45'), Nick Dasovic
M: Paul Dailly (Tiarnan King 90'), Jeff Clarke, Steve Kindel, Oliver Heald, Alfredo Valente
F: Dave Morris, Jason Jordan (Niall Thompson 71')
Team Shots Keepers Shots Saves GA
Vancouver 17 Jim Larkin 9 4 0
Milwaukee 9 Dan Popik 17 8 0
Alan Douglas, Soccer Information
Vancouver Whitecaps and Breakers Soccer Clubs