Whitecaps top seed

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 7:09 AM ET

Vancouver Whitecaps became the top seed in the W-League final four when Amy Vermeulen's hat trick gave Ottawa Fury a 3-2 upset over the New Jersey Wildcats in yesterday's Eastern conference final.

New Jersey was first overall with a 14-0 record. The 11-0-1 Whitecaps automatically qualified as host for soccer's North American women's club championship, which begins Friday at Swangard Stadium.

The host Wildcats missed goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and striker Charmaine Hooper to Canadian national team duty. Hooper ignited a controversy Friday when she complained no Fury players were on Canada's roster for yesterday's 2-0 loss to the United States in Cary, N.C. Hooper, the only player remaining from the first Canada/U.S. meeting in 1986, registered a shot. LeBlanc did not play.

Abby Wambach beat Canada's Erin McLeod on a 44th minute penalty kick. Second half substitute Natasha Kai scored in the 82nd minute as Canada fell to 3-3-30 all-time against the U.S.

McLeod was among seven Whitecaps in the match, including Martina Franko, Randee Hermus, Andrea Neil, Sophie Schmidt, Christine Sinclair and Brittany Timko.

Charlotte Lady Eagles will join Vancouver and Ottawa in the final four. Eagles beat Richmond Kickers Destiny 1-0 Saturday to win the Central conference. Seattle Sounders Saints hosted Mile High Edge in last night's Western conference final after 24 hours' deadline.


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