Vancouver looked comfortable in dispatching the NASL's FC Edmonton in the first leg of the Canadian Championship semifinal.Goals by Eric Hassli and Atiba Harris powered the Vancouver Whitecaps to a 2-0 victory over host FC Edmonton on Wednesday night in the Canadian Championship.
It was actually Edmonton which was the more aggressive team from the opening whistle, as the home side looked to catch Vancouver by surprise.
The Eddies came close to scoring a couple of times within the first quarter hour, and appeared to have a legitimate penalty call for a handball in the Whitecaps area ignored by the referee.
Despite Edmonton opening the match the more positive of the two clubs, Vancouver's Hassli opened the scoring in the 18th minute, side-footing a well-worked Omar Salgado pass from near the top of the 18 yard box past a sprawling Eddies 'keeper David Monsalve.
Edmonton pushed for an equalizer after Hassli's opener, and came close on a Yashir Pinto run that was easily handled by 'Caps net-minder Brad Knighton. Unfortunately for the home side, Vancouver eventually found the net for a second time in the first half, with the 41st minute goal coming from another smart Salgado run down the left.
The young attacker beat his man and sent in a floater that bounced off the post straight to Atiba Harris, who made no mistake in slotting the ball behind Monsalve.
After the halftime break, Edmonton came out determined to give the home team something to cheer about. Within the first 10 minutes of the second frame, the Eddies had a great build up wasted by striker Kyle Porter, saw a long range shot from Ilja Van Leerdam that forced Knighton into a tough save and had Pinto once again causing a bit of havoc in the Whitecaps area with some fancy footwork.
It all came to nothing, though, as Vancouver weathered the storm and eventually calmed the proceedings down to a less frantic pace.
The rest of the half saw the two sides trade possession and chances, with nothing particularly threatening from either team as the Whitecaps cruised for most of the final half hour until the final whistle was blown.
With the win, Vancouver can breathe a bit easier knowing that Edmonton must score at least twice to even have a chance of survival in the two-game aggregate series.
The sides meet again in a week at BC Place.
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