Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve Powell // @evejulia9

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Montréal Impact

FT: 2-4

As the smoke from nearby wildfires smothered Vancouver and filtered into BC Place, the Montréal Impact took to the pitch to face the Vancouver Whitecaps. In the final two matches of the Canadian “Phase 1” restart, Montréal was tasked with winning both matches with a high goal difference in order to supplant Toronto from the top to reach the Canadian Championship final. Although the ‘Caps had already been eliminated from Championship contention, the team was looking to build on what was perhaps its best performance of the season, having beaten TFC 3-2 a week earlier.

Despite his error that caused a heartbreaking loss in the final moments of Wednesday’s match against TFC, Rudy Camacho was given the start again at centerback while Thierry Henry benched Lassi Lappalainen in favour of Orji Okwonkwo. For Vancouver, Marc Dos Santos showed confidence in the group who has finally gotten some goals and stuck with the same lineup two weeks in a row.

It wouldn’t take long for the scoring to open up. Despite 5 minutes of dominating possession, the Impact were hit hard on the counter as Theo Bair outran defenders Camacho and Luis Binks, slotting a composed finish into the far post in the 7th minute to make it 1-0 for the hosts.

Montréal wouldn’t need long to respond and, in the 15th minute, Romell Quioto was rewarded for a powerful run as his rebound off the post was finished by Okwonkwo, and the score was leveled at 1-1.

The Impact would continue to knock on Vancouver’s door, but it was not until the 45th minute that Quioto earned a penalty following a foul from goalkeeper Thomas Hasal. Saphir Taïder stepped up and squeezed the ball past Hasal, setting the scoreline at 2-1 after 45 minutes.

History was made early into the second half as local hero Samuel Piette was rewarded for a smart run into the box with his first goal in Bleu-Blanc-Noir — over three years after joining the club. The joy on the field was palpable, as the Impact led 3-1.

Tempers boiled over in the 57th minute as Lucas Cavallini was shown a second yellow card for hitting Impact keeper Clément Diop on the head with his trailing foot. Moments later, Zachary Brault-Guillard completed his umpteenth lung-busting sprint down the right flank, passing to Piette who served an assist to Quioto who drove in the dagger. The Impact led 4-1 in the 60th.

The scoring was not finished, as Camacho’s difficult week continued. He too found the back of the net, as he sent a mishit clearance past a helpless Diop to gift the Whitecaps an own goal. The score ticked to 4-2 in the 66′, which would be the final score.

There was no shortage of talking points in the match, and Emmanuel Maciel contributed his own blunder by committing a forceful studs-up challenge on Cristian Dajome. VAR intervened and Maciel was sent off, leaving the teams to play 10 versus 10 for the final 18 minutes of the match.

After an intensely physical battle in which a total of 34 fouls were committed, the scoreline has huge significance for the Montréal Impact. If the team is able to best the Whitecaps again in their upcoming match on Wednesday, September 16th, the Impact will advance to the Canadian Championship final. By scoring 4 goals last night, the Impact only need 1 to advance on a tiebreaker. Suffice it to say, eyes from across Canada will be on the decisive match of this Canadian competition.

Featured image: Montréal Impact

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