‘Caps best Impact in semifinal first leg

Header Source: Getty Images

After a heartbreaking conclusion to the 2016 Canadian Championship for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Carl Robinson’s men (and boys) had a lot to prove on Tuesday night at BC Place against the Montreal Impact.

Although the Impact mounted a strong challenge in the second half, the ‘Caps were still able to hold on for an all-important 2-1 victory in the first leg of the semi-finals.

Whitecaps head coach Robinson took a risk with the lineup starting a completely different starting eleven from the last five MLS games to rest key players and follow the new rule requiring three Canadians to start, but it didn’t take long for the team to sync up with wunderkind Alphonso Davies putting the ‘Caps up 1-0 in only the 13th minute.

Although Davies didn’t officially count as a Canadian in the game, he was still the Canadian star. Only 20 minutes after his goal, the 16-year-old used his speed to split the Montreal defence before setting up Nicolas Mezquida who scored to double Vancouver’s lead.

Going into the halftime break it looked as if there was no stopping the blue and white, but two substitutions early in the second half made the Impact a much more dangerous team.  Bolstered by the addition of Canadians Patrice Bernier and Anthony Jackson-Hamel in the 55th minute, Montreal went on the attack as 20-year-old Canadian David Choiniere pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute.

After the Impact won a penalty in the 72nd minute from a Cole Seiler handball it looked as if veteran Bernier was going to tie up the game. However, the combination of a poorly taken penalty from the Quebecer and a strong save from rookie goalkeeper Spencer Richey kept Vancouver in the lead.

Late in stoppage time Bernier launched a dangerous shot at the Whitecaps’ goal, but Richey came up big again to save the win for the ‘Caps.

While the Whitecaps looked strong in the first half, their attack seemed to dissolve during halftime. If Carl Robinson and his team aim to move on to the final they’re going to need to play a full 90 minutes at the Stade Saputo next Tuesday.

Davies, Mezquida, and Richey were the stars for the ‘Caps throughout the game. Davies and Mezquida seemed to be in sync assisting each other on their goals, while Richey’s two big saves kept the 2-1 win from being a 3-2 loss.

While Vancouver will regret giving up the away goal, they have the quality to earn their own away goal in Montreal. Although the ‘Caps meet DC United at BC Place on Saturday and the Impact have the weekend off, that shouldn’t be an issue for the blue and white. Robinson should be expected to start the same lineup for the sixth straight MLS game on the weekend allowing the players who played on Tuesday to rest up for the second leg.

The Impact should never be counted out, however. The tie is far from over and Whitecaps and Impact supporters alike should be in for another exciting match on May 30.

Stats and Lineups:

Goals:

1-0 Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Alphonso Davies (Assists: Nicolas Mezquida, Brek Shea) – 13’

2-0 Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Nicolas Mezquida (Assist: Alphonso Davies) – 33’

1-2 Montreal Impact – David Choiniere (Assists: Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Daniel Lovitz) – 62’

Statistics:

 

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Montreal Impact

Goals

2 1

Shots

8

14

Shots on Target 5

6

Possession

39.7%

60.3%

Corners

5

5

Duels Won

46

43

Tackles Won

16

12

Saves

5

3

Clearances

17

26

Offsides

3

2

Fouls

10

10

Yellow Cards

0

0

Red Cards 0

0

Statistical data from Opta.

(3-4-2-1)

Substitutes: Bustos for Mezquida (70’), Wynne for Davies (71’), Greig for Rosales (80’)

Unused Substitutes: Melvin, Norman Jr., Amanda, Baldisimo

(4-3-3)

Substitutes: Bernier for Mallace (55’), Jackson-Hamel for Arregui (55’), Lefevre for Camara (77’)

Unused Substitutes: Kronberg, Salazar, DePuy, Shome

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Jacob Noseworthy

Jacob Noseworthy

Jacob is a first-year political science major at the University of Victoria, but he is also setting his sights towards a minor in journalism. He joined Northern Starting Eleven to combine his passions of soccer and journalism and to help promote and grow the sport in Canada. NSXI gives him the opportunity to refine and grow his writing skills, while also growing his love of the beautiful game. When he’s not studying, Jacob can usually be found watching soccer, whether he is supporting Vancouver Whitecaps FC from across the Georgia Strait or at Centennial Stadium cheering on the UVic Vikes.

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