The Impact had an inspired night in Vancouver, part of a crazy game in which they had total control after an hour, only to let game management slip, producing a nervy last 25 mins.
Leading 4-1 with the Caps reduced to 10 men, Montreal looked set to achieve both the night’s objectives comfortably: three good MLS points, which was not so much ever in doubt, and a result that would lead to them having to defeat Vancouver by any score, Wednesday, to move onto a second successive Canadian Championship final at the expense of great rivals Toronto FC.
They had to win 4-2 or better for the latter part.
So when the unfortunate Rudy Camacho put through his own goal on 66 mins attempting to intercept Guttierez’s cross, any margin for error was extinguished.
Still with an extra man advantage, Montreal just needed to manage the game to it’s conclusion.
But six minutes later Maciel’s rash challenge from behind on Dajome was rightly punished with a straight red, and all of a sudden everything was different.
The game became stretched, there was more space and with it a few anxious moments for the visitors, before the 90+7 minutes elapsed. The most spectacular and crucial one involved Brault-Guillard’s astounding goal-line clearance on 89 mins, when Teibert looked odds-on to convert from Diop’s palm-out.
But survive the Impact did without further concession and now they can eliminate Toronto FC from the national competition, by securing any manner of victory over Vancouver on Wednesday.
Whenever Sam Piette scores, you just know you are in for a positive evening. So it proved as Piette looking more comfortable in the advanced role demanded by Thierry Henry, ghosted into the box to meet Taider’s cross, producing a finish his coach would have been proud of himself. Fifty-one minutes had elapsed.
It was Piette’s first goal in his 89th Impact appearance. Brault-Guillard, who produced a special performance throughout the evening, deserves credit for setting the play in motion - a tremendously well-executed goal.
That made it 3-1 after Taider’s penalty in injury time at the end of first-half added time, had sent Montreal in at the interval 2-1 to the good.
Right on the hour, Piette turned provider. He was certainly getting a taste for hunting goals. Again Brault-Guillard was involved, Piette’s ball into the box easily converted by Romell Quioto, who as always put in a shift.
It hadn’t started well however with a setback in the 7th minute. Theo Bair burst through after Maciel had been dispossessed in the midfield. The angle was narrow with Binks and Camacho in pursuit, but the Vancouver man produced a low finish inside the far post with Diop’s positioning suspect.
It could have been worse for the Impact on 14 mins. Wanyama was dispossessed on the edge of the box after taking a heavy touch, and Milinkovic should have scored, Diop redeeming himself for his earlier misdemeanour.
Within a minute the Impact had levelled. Brault-Guillard and Quioto were enjoying themselves on the right and the latter raced away producing a fierce cross-shot which fairly clunked against the far post. The ball deflected off Taider to Okwonkwo who finished comfortably.
Another key moment of an incident-packed match was the sending off of Canadian international, Lucas Cavallini in the 57th minute. It looked unintentional but his trailing foot caught Diop’s head as they each went for the ball. It was deemed a yellow card to add to another rather senseless caution he received in the first-half for wrestling Binks.
The Canadian looked intent on unsettling the teenage defender with some physical play, but Binks remained unruffled throughout. There was an altercation just after Cavallini received his marching orders, and Binks also went into Mr Laziere’s book.
Automatically suspended, Cavallini and Maciel will each miss the second game in the double-header on Wednesday.
Montreal were clearly deserving of their win, they just made hard-work of it by conceding a second goal, despite enjoying a numerical advantage, which was also soon squandered needlessly.
The Impact now sit in a coveted 5th spot in the Eastern Conference on 16 points with a match in hand, and have provided themselves a wonderful opportunity to advance to the Canadian Championship final.
They would have already booked their place, if not for that late concession against Toronto FC last Wednesday.
VWFC - Hasal - Godoy (Nerwinski, 55), Rose, Cormelius, Adnan (Gutierrez, 55) - Owusu (Dajome, 55), Baldisimo, Teibert - Milinkovic (Yordy Reyna, 73) - Cavallini, Bair (Fredy Montero, 55)
IMFC - Diop - Brault-Guillard, Camacho, Binks, Raitala - Wanyama, Maciel - Piette, Taider, Okwonkwo (Shome, 90) - Quioto (Lappalainen, 86)
Match Officials -
Referee - Pierre-Luc Lauziere
Asst Refs - Chris Wattam, Lyes Arfa
4th Official - Silviu Petrescu
VAR - Drew Fisher