A little over month ago all fan focus was on the Canadian Championship due to the position that the Impact had in the MLS standings. Fast forward a month later with a few consecutive wins in a row, the Impact are in a playoff position and questioned arise where the focus would be drawn.
Garde went with a mixed lineup resting some key players like Fanni and Piatti but keeping some in with Taider, Piette and Silva. This decision showed the importance that they were placing on the tournament without forgetting about their league play.
Right off the bat, the Impact dominated and kept the ball circulating. Having trouble getting into the final third as the Whitecaps were sitting back. The first real opportunity, while squandered, came after 20 minutes of play. Silva distributed the ball to Jackson who skied the ball over the bar. Only a few moments later Jackson found himself with another golden chance but hit the post.
The Impact continued their dominance in the first half with many players showcasing great moments; either it be Krolicki with timely interception, Piette completely controlling the middle, or Silva being the leader of the offence, many players had shining moments throughout the match.
The Whitecaps got only one true chance in the first half but the Impact players were playing as a solid defensive unit so Diop had little to do.
Coming into the second half, the Impact continued on the same path as the first half and it didn’t take long for them to get on the board. In the 58th minute, Silva sent the ball to Vargas who brought the ball down and got it to Taider, who distributed the ball back to Silva who sealed a very nice sequence.
For the remainder of the game the Impact got a few sequence including a goal that was refused due to offside and did not allow Vancouver to build anything super threatening.
The Impact will face off against the Whitecaps in Vancouver on Wednesday next week for the second leg. Before that they will have yet another important game in Portland to secure their position in the MLS standings.
- Hard to pick out the weak link: Very few players were evident weak links in the lineup Wednesday which is a big relief for a lineup that has struggle a lot since the beginning of the lineup. Garde implemented a system at the beginning of the season and it seems to have finally sunk in. Players like Krolicki or Silva who struggled at times or even Lovitz who isn’t on all Bleu-Blanc-Noir fans good side showed really good moments.
- Youngster Getting a Chance: Mathieu Choniere who signed a pro contract on Tuesday got a few minutes in Wednesday nights game. It was obvious, by the fan reaction, that many were pleased of the decision to give the youngster some minutes and as Garde said post-game he isn’t far from some MLS minutes.
- What’s Next: I would be surprised that the Vancouver would just throw in the towel given that the Impact only took a 1-0 lead. While dominated for most of the game on Wednesday a lot of big players were missing in their lineup namely Davies and Kamara. It will be interesting to see if they are brought in to give the Whitecaps a chance or if the focus is completely shifted on league play.
MTL – GK-Clément Diop; D-Michael Petrasso (Jukka Raitala 38’), Rudy Camacho, Victor Cabrera, Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette, Ken Krolicki, Saphir Taider (Mathieu Choinière 86’); F-Jeisson Vargas, Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Ignacio Piatti 71’), Alejandro Silva
Subs not used – James Pantemis, Rod Fanni, Shamit Shome, Matteo Mancosu
VAN – GK-Stefan Marinovic; D-Aaron Maund, Aly Ghazal, Brett Levis (Bernie Ibini-Isei 74’), Jakob Nerwinski; M-Brek Shea, Cristian Techera, David Norman (Sean Franklin 71’), Russell Teibert; F-Anthony Blondell (Erik Hurtado 59’), Nicolás Mezquida
Subs not used – Sean Melvin, Alphonso Davies, Michael Baldisimo, Myer Bevan
MTL – Silva 58’
VAN – Norman 41’
VAN – Shea 87’
On the other side of the table, the away team Toronto took the lead against Ottawa.