The Vancouver Whitecaps won their second Voyageurs Cup last season with a thrilling penalty shootout victory over Toronto FC. It was a euphoric moment for everyone at the club and Whitecaps fans.

This season, the Whitecaps are determined to repeat. They want to return to that euphoria.

In MLS play, they are in decent form. Vancouver is unbeaten in their last eight with three wins and five draws. Along the way, they managed to break the club record (in MLS) shutout streak with 443 minutes without conceding a goal. They are also tied for the best non-penalty expected goals in MLS with the New England Revolution according to FootballReference.

After a hard-fought 3-2 win over Minnesota United, the Whitecaps should easily beat York United right? Well, in the Canadian Championship and sports, nothing is easy.

The Whitecaps know that all too well. They have a history of being knocked out by Canadian Premier League competition. In 2019, they got knocked out by Cavalry 2-1 over two legs (They scrapped the two legs beginning in 2021) and two years later, they got knocked out by Pacific FC at Starlight Stadium 4-3.

That game is best remembered as Marc Dos Santos’ last game as the Whitecaps’ head coach. Just a day after the loss to Pacific, Dos Santos was fired and Sartini replaced him as interim head coach. You know what happened next.

Back to the present and Sartini’s seat has cooled due to the unbeaten run. If the Whitecaps lose to York United, it would be surprising if the energetic Italian coach gets the pink slip but the seat will be hot once again.

Sartini commemorated last year’s Canadian Championship with a tattoo of the trophy and the year 2022 written below it.  He’ll definitely want 2023 to be inked but his team has a lot to work on, particularly finishing.

“We need to keep… trusting the process, playing well and improving the things that we have to improve,” said Sartini after the game against Minnesota United last Saturday per JJ Adams of The Province.

Brian White got two goals against Minnesota but don’t expect him to be in the lineup on Wednesday against York United. White suffered a quad contusion on his second goal after colliding with Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair. Sartini has said White is day-to-day.

Who could we see in the Whitecaps lineup?

As per the Canadian Championship rules, it is required for every team to have three Canadian players start the game.

That means the Whitecaps could see the likes of fullback Ryan Raposo, fullback/midfielder Ali Ahmed, goalkeeper Thomas Hasal, midfielder Russell Teibert (*Ducks*) or even forward Levonte Johnson start.

With White out, the Whitecaps called up Johnson from Whitecaps FC2 on a short-term basis on Tuesday morning. The 23-year-old was drafted 29th overall in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft and is currently tied for the WFC2 team lead in goals this season with three.

With him being called up, expect him to see some minutes. That will probably be off the bench.

Simon Becher also scored his fourth MLS goal of the season against Minnesota. There is a chance he could start against York.

“I think any game you can start it’s a good chance to continue to showcase what you can do,” said Becher on Tuesday to Har Johal of Daily Hive. “Obviously a different competition, a different beast.”

However, Becher is trusting his coach and is determined to fight for minutes.

“That’s Vanni’s decision, not mine, I can only make the best of my minutes,” said Becher per Johal.

Sergio Córdova is match-fit after being out for over a month with a hamstring injury. He did not play against Minnesota. However, giving him minutes against York United isn’t a bad idea.

It would be a great opportunity for Córdova to get back into game action before Saturday’s game against the Portland Timbers. The DP striker needs to prove he is worthy of the DP spot. Against York, he can not only get back into game action but prove he is ready for more minutes.

The opponent

The Whitecaps played York United in the semi-final of last year’s Canadian Championship at BC Place. They won 2-1 thanks to a brace from White.

This time around, the Whitecaps will travel to the York University campus and play York at York Lions Stadium.

York United is having a slow start in the CPL. They have one win and three losses. They got past Vancouver FC with a 1-0 win in the preliminary round. York is also coming off a 1-0 home loss to Forge FC. Through four games, York has only scored two goals and that is the lowest in the CPL.

Some players to watch from York United are forward Molham Babouli (He scored one of York’s goals in the CPl this season and their only goal against Vancouver FC in the preliminary round), defender Paris Donald Gee ( He leads York with 192 passes this CPL season ) and goalkeeper Nikolaos Giantsopoulos. (He signed a short-term contract with the Whitecaps last season due to the goalkeepers dealing with injuries and COVID-19)

Kickoff is at 4:30 pm Pacific and you can watch the game on OneSoccer.