The Impact will clash with the Whitecaps for the second time in 2017– this time with a different objective, becoming Canadian champions (but really, getting into Concacaf Champions League is far more important).
The only real rule change heading into this year format of the Amway Canadian Championship is that all teams must field three Canadian players. Exciting right!
Anyways, let's get to the keys of this semifinal first leg that’s taking place in a tournament that’s in desperate need of change.
The first key for both sides will be to cope with whatever lineup both Biello and Robson end up putting out at BC Place. In a tournament such as this one, the caliber of the players put out can come as a surprise.
There’s no doubt in my mind that one of the minimum three Canadians that’ll start for Vancouver will be 16-year-old Alphonso Davies. The youngster is yet to find the back of the net or notch a single assist in 17 career MLS appearances, but containing him will still be a test for the back line of the Impact. Montréal’s midfield will have to track his runs as he cuts in, if not, he’ll punish them. Simple as that.
Maxime Crepeau will finally get his chance in net for the Impact. The 23-year-old Longueuil native has never made an MLS appearance, but the Impact’s front office came out in preseason to say they expect him to feature over Bush at times in 2017. Getting a result would be a big step in the right direction for Maxime, considering a number of goals Vancouver have this season (15 goals in 11 games).
The last key of the game is the combination play of Dzemaili and Piatti. It was clicking for them at the weekend when they ran rampant over the Timbers. Their combination play helped for the whole team to get involved in the play, ultimately leading in four goals scored. More of the same tonight could give the Impact the result they’re looking to take back to Stade Saputo for the second leg.
This also happened last time the Impact visited BC Place…
The winner of this series moves on to face the winner of the Ottawa-Toronto series.