Vancouver target Voyageurs Cup

Vancouver Whitecaps FC are due. Despite an all-time winning record in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, they have yet to win it all in the first three seasons of the competition.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC are due. Despite an all-time winning record in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, they have yet to win it all in the first three seasons of the competition.

They were close in 2009 when they finished tied on points with Toronto FC, but lost on goal differential. They were unbeaten in 2010, yet finished a distant second after posting four-straight draws without a win.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC will open the 2011 Nutrilite Canadian Championship on the road this Wednesday 27 April against Impact Montréal. The return leg of the two-match semi-final series is 4 May at Empire Field in Vancouver. The winner advances to the two-leg championship series on 18 and 25 May.

There is plenty of “new” in the colours and lineup of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. For starters, the club has left the NASL and has joined Major League Soccer. The team has a new logo and new kit which will be seen for the first time in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship on Wednesday night.

The team also has plenty of new faces, with hometowns that include Canada, USA, France, Switzerland and Brazil.

From the club’s first-ever match in Major League Soccer, the star was off-season signing Eric Hassli of Sarreguemines, France. Hassli scored two goals in the Whitecaps season opener, a 4:2 win over MLS opponent Toronto FC on 19 March. He has three goals on the season.

Brazilian striker Camilio also has three goals early in the MLS campaign (expansion Vancouver has one win, three draws and three losses). Like Hassli, Camilio had a two-goal match for Vancouver. Camilio scored two injury-time goals on 2 April in a come-from-behind 3:3 draw with Sporting Kansas City.

The Swiss newcomer is Davide Chiumiento, who actually leads MLS with five assists. Chiumiento joined Vancouver last August from FC Luzern in Switzerland, but will now make his Nutrilite Canadian Championship debut in 2011.

Of course, the other big off-season signing was Jay DeMerit, the centre back who played all four matches for USA at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. DeMerit comes to Canada from Watford in England. DeMerit will unfortunately miss the opening match of the championship because he is recovering from a groin injury.

New Canadians in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship include Terry Dunfield, Alain Rochat and Russell Teibert. Of note, Rochat was the Whitecaps Man of the Match on Saturday 23 April (Rochat scored Vancouver’s lone goal in the 1:2 loss to FC Dallas).

Along with the new players, Vancouver features five returning players from last year’s competition, including goalkeeper Jay Nolly who ranks first all time with six clean sheets in 12 matches. Also still in the fold in head coach Teitur Thordarson, the only coach on the bench for all three seasons of the competition.

As for the road to the Voyageurs Cup, Vancouver has brought in one new player who has won it before: Canadian midfielder Kevin Harmse. Harmse played in two championships with Toronto FC (2008, 2009) and scored one goal in his five matches. He helped Toronto FC win the Nutrilite Canadian Championship in 2009.

The 2011 Nutrilite Canadian Championship runs 27 April to 25 May. Vancouver’s two semi-final matches are 27 April at home (20.00 ET / 17.00 PT kick off) and 4 May on the road (23.00 ET / 20.00 PT kick off). Both matches will be broadcast live in high definition on Rogers Sportsnet. The winner of the Vancouver-Montréal series will advance to face the winner of the Toronto-Edmonton series. is the new home for official Canada Soccer apparel and fanwear, including customized National Team jerseys