Impact defeated by defending champions TFC after an extremely debated match. After being tied 1-1 in Montreal, the Impact came to Toronto needing a road goal to have a chance at the title. With injuries adding up and fatigue, a factor on both sides, the Impact’s depth was going to be challenged. Biello changed his formation, which fans were happy to see in general, even if it was highly due to the fact of the lack of defensive depth.
Early on TFC created numerous chances that greatly highlighted some great saves and plays by Maxime Crépeau. The Impact seemed completely aware coming into the game that against a top of the league TFC they would have to seize their opportunities. Youngster Ballou Tabla made no mistake of seizing his chance which was created by a surging Dzemaili. Dzemaili ran up the middle of the field passing through a few challenges eventually handing off the ball to Tabla, who put a nice effect curving it into the left side of the net. Right before the end of the half, Fisher took out opponent Beitashour in a grueling full body tackle. Luckily both men were able to keep playing and Fisher surprisingly walked away with only a yellow.
The second half started in a fairly similar fashion to the first half. Crépeau came up big robbing Giovinco of a great scoring opportunity. Unfortunately, moments later Giovinco received a great cross from Bradley and he made no mistake this time beating Crépeau short side.
Things began getting complicated from that point on. Piatti went in on a shoulder to shoulder challenge against Beitashour and seem to pull something in his right leg. He was subbed off and Oduro came on. In my opinion, the Impact got lucky towards the end of the game with a blatant missed call by referee Gantar, which accumulated during the game. Giovinco linked up with Altidore for a nice play that led to him alone in front of keeper Crépeau. Fisher committed a blatant foul but referee waived play on. Controversy emerged when a few minutes later at the very end of the game when Bernier lost his ball and committed a foul trying to recuperate it. TFC players argued with referee Gantar which started some commotion on the pitch. In the end, Gantar showed a red card to Bernier which was not deserved. The dispute between the two teams went into the added time and Gantar let the game play beyond the added 3 minutes. Impact seem to fall apart from the moment Bernier was sent off which led to the second and deciding goal. Edwards crossed the ball right in front of Crépeau at the feet of Giovinco who made no mistake of putting the ball into the net.
Postgame interviews in games like such players admit that beyond the fact that the referees did not help them during the game they did not play well enough in order to win the game. The postgame comments after this game although, were very different. Players were frustrated because they did put up in a good fight considering the circumstances and felt that they were robbed. A heated Ciman probably described what many were feeling “I don’t think there is a need to speak everything was seen. No? This needs to stop, this is exaggerated! We can definitely fight but there are certain things that we cannot control and something like this is unacceptable. That’s not what makes football.”
· Maxime Crépeau: The youngster is making his case for an MLS start. After his performance tonight he definitely deserves it. It will be interesting to see if the Impact plays him in there upcoming midweek games in the MLS upon his return from the Gold Cup.
· Something is missing in the lineup: It is becoming more and more evident that the Impact needs to stop relying on the heroics of one man and build an actual team. While injuries are definitely not helping this mission, the Impact is missing players and depth in key positions. A stable and constant starting 11 that works as a unity, will help this team grab the success they rightfully deserve.
· The VAR: While it is unclear when the VAR will be included in the Canadian Championship, this system would have made an immense difference during this tournament and this game. TFC would have likely been awarded the missed penalty but Bernier would have never received that red. This system is being used during the FIFA Confederations Cup and had an impact a few times changing goal decisions and creating penalty opportunities as well.
MTL – GK-Maxime Crépeau; D-Kyle Fisher, Víctor Cabrera (Wandrille Lefèvre 90’+1’), Laurent Ciman, Hassoun Camara; M-Hernán Bernardello, Patrice Bernier; Ballou Tabla, Blerim Dzemaili, Nacho Piatti (Dominic Oduro 80’), F- Matteo Mancosu 54’
Subs not used: Evan Bush, Calum Mallace, Michael Salazar, Nick DePuy, Anthony Jackson-Hamel
TOR – GK-Clint Irwin; D-Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta; M-Raheem Edwards, Jonathan Osorio (Marco Delgado, 45’), Michael Bradley, Víctor Vázquez, Steven Beitashour; F-Tosaint Ricketts (Jozy Altidore, 45’), Sebastian Giovinco
Subs not used: Alexander Bono, Ashtone Morgan, Jason Hernandez, Armando Cooper, Benoit Cheyrou
MTL – Tabla (Dzemaili) 36’
TOR – Giovinco (Bradley) 53’
TOR –Giovinco (Edwards, Vazquez) 90+5’
MTL – Kyle Fisher 45+2’
MTL – Hernán Bernardello 59’
TOR – Raheem Edwards 90+6’
MTL – Patrice Bernier 89’