Montreal Impact has faced West Coast rivals Vancouver Whitecaps on two past occasions on this day.
The first in 2008 produced a second successive 2-0 win over the same opposition in the Voyageurs Cup, meaning the Impact needed only a draw in its last fixture at BMO Field against Toronto FC to secure the Canadian title.
For Matt Jordan it was a second successive clean-sheet in the competition, and goals by Roberto Brown (30) and Impact’s Man of the Match, David Testo (66) won the day as 4,412 watched on, at Swangard Stadium. Former Impact hero Eddie Sebrango lined out for the opposition.
In Europe, Germany and Turkey produced a pulsating semi-final in the Euros. The Turks struck first before falling behind, but restored parity with only 4 mins left through Fenerbahce’s Semih Senturk. But Philip Lahm popped up in the last minute of regulation time to send the Germans through (3-2) to a final date with Spain.
Roll on six years, and it was another visit to the Whitecaps this time on MLS business. In a drab game in front of 21,000, remarkable only for Gorka Larrea’s Montreal Impact debut, the sides played out a scoreless draw. The club’s first Spanish player lasted 76 mins of his first game before being replaced by Wandrille Lefevre and marked the occasion with a 74th min yellow card.
The same night I was at the Maracana Stadium in Rio along with almost 74,000 others to watch France gain the point they needed to win their World Cup group, drawing 0-0 with Ecuador. The South Americans played the last 40 minutes a man short after a straight red was produced to Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia.
Xherdan Shaqiri was the toast of Switzerland recording a hat-trick in Salvador in a 3-0 World Cup group win over Honduras thus confirming advancement to the round of 16.
On this day in 2016, I was again elsewhere on international football duty as the Impact played out a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Stade Saputo.
Justin Mapp was an unused substitute for the visitors, who came from behind twice to share the spoils. Twenty-one year-old Lucas Ontivero, with his last Impact goal gave the home side the lead on 16 mins, assisted by Didier Drogba.
Ignacio Piatti restored the lead from the penalty spot six minutes before the break after Dominic Dwyer had equalized. Dwyer, a player who often attracted the ire of Impact fans equalized a second time on 59 mins to conclude the scoring (2-2).
A near capacity 20,342 watched the game.
The news from Montreal filtered through the haze to me as I drowned my sorrows in a cafe close to Paris’ Parc des Princes where earlier in the day my beloved Northern Ireland had exited the Euros, beaten 0-1 by British rivals, Wales.
But that man Shaqiri was at it again. This time in St-Etienne. Two years to the day from his World Cup hat-trick, his late acrobatic, overhead volley forced Switzerland’s Euros round of 16 game with Poland into extra-time. It remains one of the best goals scored in European Championship history (check it out on YouTube if you don’t believe me).
There was no happy ending however for Shaqiri or the Swiss. For although Shaqiri again registered successfully in the penalty shoot-out, Granit Xhaka did not, and it proved decisive, the Poles advancing to the last eight.
It was also a busy night in MLS with late drama coming in Orlando and San Jose.
Justin Morrow produced a last minute equalizer for Toronto FC in Orlando, but ten minutes into injury time Ismail Elfath, a referee known to once incur the wrath of a certain Jose Mourinho, awarded a soft penalty after Julio Baptista went down easily. Kaka stepped up and converted from the spot to secure Orlando’s 3-2 success.
Mourinho would have nodded knowingly. Surprised he would not have been!
Toronto FC would also not have been thrilled that Brampton, Ontario native Cyle Larin had opened the scoring for Orlando in the 5th minute.
Elsewhere, a 90th minute equalizer by Chad Barrett for San Jose in the Cali-Clasico with LA Galaxy was too much for former Arsenal, Chelsea and England international, Ashley Cole to take. Six minutes into added time the decorated left-back scythed down San Jose’s Panamanian international Alberto Quintero and received his marching orders.
Former Impact man Lamar Neagle set DC United on their way to a 2-0 success over New England Revolution with the game’s opening goal in the 20th minute, and Vancouver Whitecaps had a good road win at Philadelphia, the 84th minute winner coming from Christian Bolanos, who faced the Impact twice this season while playing for Deportivo Saprissa.
Finally on this day in 1991 current Impact player Victor Wanyama was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and Miguel Montano, who appeared as an 81st minute substitute for Patrice Bernier in Montreal’s first-ever MLS match, was born in Palmira, Colombia.