The Whitecaps and Impact fight to the end as Vancouver is able to play spoiler with a 3-1 victory at BC Place. Thanks to an impressive performance by Fredy Montero who scored 2 goals and added a hockey assist (not counted). Cristian Dajome scored Vancouver's other goal and Romell Quioto scored for the Impact.
For a match that started off like watching paint dry, when it got going, it got going! I almost wish the two teams played again this weekend with everything that has happened in the last two matches.
With the results, Toronto FC will head to the Canadian Championship finals against the winner of either Halifax Wanderers or Hamilton Forge.
Pre Match Notes
If you need to get caught up on the game preview than look no further than Sports Talk Line. Wednesday night was an opportunity for the Montreal Impact to clinch a berth in the Canadian Championship final.
The Whitecaps would go with a starting 11 that didn't include Michael Baldisimo. And when I got over that fact I noticed MDS is running the same a 4-2-3-1 formation. Fredy Montero and Cristian Dajome worked well last match together.
The Impact would counter with a strong lineup. It was clear Thierry Henry was going for things right off the opening whistle. The only change to the lineup for the Impact was Emanuel Maciel who is out for disciplinary reasons after Sunday's red card. Shamit Shome gets his place in the midfield to start against the Whitecaps.
1st Half Whitecaps And Impact Fight To The End
Vancouver won a corner on a cross in the second minute, but it was sent long and the Impact was able to get possession. Montreal held it briefly before the whitecaps earned a free kick in the 4th minute.
Lots of switching play by the Whitecaps as they looked to force the impact to play east and west. Through the first 8 minutes, Vancouver was holding the majority of the ball. The Impact would get their first real spell of possession in the 9th minute. A dangerous cross by Romell Quioto was fisted away by Thomas Hasal before it was cleared.
By the 10th minute, Montreal was settling down a bit and would control the ball. The backline was doing a much better job tonight of playing as a unit. There was limited space for the midfield to walk into so far in the match. Vancouver would go against the grain of play with a nice long ball to Cristian Dajome who earned the Caps second corner. The 16th-minute set-piece was sent back into the box several times before Derek Cornelius lashed it off-target and out for a goal kick.
Things would calm down for action until the Whitecaps were awarded a set piece from the left side of the box. Two driven balls by Fredy Montero were both cleared away. Montreal would try and counter quickly but Jake Nerwinski slowed things down with a foul on Orji Okwonkwo. Vancouver would get a chance in the 21st minute. After the ball came into a nice shooting spot for David Milinkovic he sent it well over the net.
The Whitecaps had a much better defensive shape and it wasn't allowing the impact to get any dangerous chances. Vancouver looked to counter before a 45th minute foul by Montero gave it right back to the Impact. Both teams were having trouble getting it into dangerous areas and things got a bit scrambly until the 30th minute. Montreal tried to break on the counter but Veselinovic just took his man down for the yellow card in the 31st minute.
Hasal had to be sharp on the Okwonko shot as he fisted it over the net for the first Impact corner. It was initially cleared before a dangerous cross in was headed just wide by Binks. Things got back to crazy in the 35th minute. Rudy Camacho was taken down in the box. Montero came to check on him and was cheaply shotted in the leg. Camacho was shown a red and sent off before the teams met in the box. Drew Fischer awarded Vancouver a penalty kick.
Montero stepped up in the 41st minute and calmly put the penalty behind Clement Diop and the Whitecaps had a 1-0 lead. Theirry Henry would make his first sub in the 43rd minute bringing on Rod Fanni for Shamit Shome. It would only get worse for the Montreal Impact head coach. Some beautiful work down the left-hand side and Montero nutmegged it through to Milinkovic. He cut inside and found Dajome with acres of space and Bair on his right. He fired it into the net and the Whitecaps had a 2-0 lead in the 44th minute.
The 4th official added 4 minutes to the first half and Samuel Piette was shown a yellow card. Vancouver would get a late corner but it was Montreal who tried to rush back and get a goal back before the half. Vancouver was too tight defensively and the half would come to an end with the home side up 2-0.
Whitecaps "Finish Em" In the Second Half
The Vancouver Whitecaps would make one half time substitution bringing on Michael Baldisimo for Janio Bikel. The play would go from one box to the other in the first 2 minutes of the second half. It was clear things would be much more open in the second half with the Impact down to 10 men. Both teams had early shouts for penalties but nothing was given by Referee Drew Fischer.
Spaces were opening up on the field as the Impact looked for a goal. Milinkovic and Montero almost set up another goal but was cleared away by Montreal in the 52nd minute. It looked like the plan was to try and send balls along on the left-hand side against Nerwinski. He was up to the task and forced it out for the Impacts 2nd corner of the match in the 55th minute. The corner was wasted as the Impact was called for a foul on the play.
Vancouver was looking for the 3rd goal as Dajome and Gutierrez overlapped down the left. It was a nice cross into Montero but his shot was off target. The Whitecaps would make their second sub bringing on Leonard Owusu for Theo Bair in the 62nd minute. The theme of the start of both halves seemed to be paint drying. While the second was a bit more lively than the first it was obvious Vancouver didn't want to make any silly mistakes with the two-goal lead.
Montreal had a long shot from the top of the box blocked in the 67th minute before Saphir Taider sent it over the net. He was significantly quieter than usual. Vancouver almost made it 3-0 but Dajome's ball for Milinkovic was a bit slow and taken away by the Impact Defender in the 68th. It would have been a tap in for the former Hull City man. The pressure by Montreal would finally get them onto the score sheet.
Ranko Veselinovic wasn't able to handle Quioto in the box. He muscled past him with the ball and fired a rocket over Thomas Hasal. It was assisted on by the up until now quiet Taider in the 70th minute. MDS would make another sub and bring on Ali Adnan in an attacking role for David Milinkovic. Things really opened up at this point. Montero had a great chance blocked before the Impact were back in the Whitecaps zone in the 78th minute. Theirry Henry would also make an attacking substitution bringing on Bojan for Samuel Piette.
It took less than 30 seconds after the sub for Vancouver to restore their two goal lead. Montero and Owusu worked well together and Montero was able to lash it past Diop. Montero very nearly got a hattrick in the 81st minute but his chip was wide of the open net. Montreal would make another substitution taking off Okwonkwo for Lassi Lappalainen. Things were getting out of hand for Montreal and their fruistration was starting to show on the pitch. Ali Adnan was taken down hard by Taider but it was just a free kick despite calls from the Vancouver bench.
Montero was unlucky not to have 3 or 4 goals on the evening. He was showing great timing on his runs and passes. Vancouver would bring on 2 fresh bodies in the 89th minute as both Dajome and Fredy Montero were subbed off. MDS would bring on Yordy Reyna and Tosaint Ricketts. The Impact got the spark from the sub as Bojan fired a dangerous shot that Hasal had to force out for a Corner. Thankfully the Impact wasted the corner and VWFC would take over with an additional 3 minutes of time added by the 4th official.
Ali Adnan was at a full sprint looking to add to the lead but the pass from Reyna was a bit behind him. He made sure it rolled all the way out of bounds before smashing it into the signs. Fischer would soon blow the final whistle and Whitecaps had a 3-1 Victory to finish their 2020 home matches off.
Whitecaps Drop Mixed Tape
Okay, that's not what Ali Adnan and Rusty are doing here. Honestly, if they did start a band I would probably listen. You know they would recruit Inbeom as well. After the match, Russel Teibert, David Milinkovic, and Head coach Marc Dos Santos spoke. MDS was up first and he was noticeably more calm than Tuesday.
"You know my relationship with the players is not, ‘We do this or this was wrong. This was right.’ It's a relation of, ‘I think this, what do you guys think, where do we have to be better.’ I think that in this area and there's discussions that allow us to grow as a team because everybody does it together." When asked about the mood at training and in the locker room.
When asked on the play of Fredy Montero Sunday night and being left out of the Line-up previously, "March 11, when we went home then MLS is Back. Many didn't go and then when we got back, we felt he wasn't ready for the first trip. Maybe we were wrong. Maybe he had physically enough but we didn't see that. And maybe we were wrong."
He would continue on the play of his Colombian striker, "But then, every time in training. I was seeing things in Fredy that ‘Man, he wants to contribute. He wants to help, he wants to show. He wants to change things. And then, when we got him back. He came to the last game very well. And I told them in front of the group, ‘Tomorrow, you're starting, because you deserve to start, and you've done everything right to start.’ He came in and he had a fantastic game, he deserved even the hat trick." The coach also used a naughty word but it will remain omitted.
David Milinkovic spoke about his desire to help the team. And also spoke about promising MDS everything he could when he was on the pitch. It has shown in the last two matches and maybe the Whitecaps have found a 10? Russell Teibert spoke last and talked about the difference in tonight's match.
"I think we're always trying to go out and do the same thing. We're always trying to play with heart. We're always trying to play with fight. And I think things just clicked tonight. We played well out of the back. We got opportunities, we got chances forward, and we capitalize on those chances and that's the difference between winning games, and losing games.”
Sports Talk Lines Vancouver Whitecaps Coverage
The Whitecaps and Impact fight to the end in what will be both teams last match on Canadian Soil. Vancouver will train Friday and head out right after for their match Saturday against Real Salt Lake. Montreal will head back east and down to Reb Bull Arena where they will play the Philadelphia Union.
Even though the team won't be at home I will still make sure to provide all your Vancouver Whitecaps coverage. Whether it's on my twitter, on the Sports talk Line website or on the Unnamed Sports Show, I will keep you in the loop as the team heads out.