VANCOUVER, B.C – The Vancouver Whitecaps opened up their second season in MLS with a 2-0 win over the visiting Montreal Impact before an excited and enthusiastic sellout crowd of 21,ooo fans at BC Place Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Vancouver Whitecaps didn’t waste time setting records in their first game of the season. Sebastien Le Toux opened the scoring for Vancouver in the 4th minute after receiving a lovely pass from fellow Frenchman and striker Eric Hassli. Hassli headed the ball forward to Le Toux who was able to get past his defender before placing the ball under the out stretched arm of Montreal Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
Le Toux’s quick strike erased an 11 year-old record for fastest goal scored to open a MLS regular season. The previous time was 9 minutes held by Troy Dayak. Sebastien Le Toux who came over from the Philadelphia Union during the off-season is poised to be a dangerous attacking threat for Vancouver. If Le Toux and Hassli can form some chemistry both players could be near the top of MLS scoring. After the game Le Toux was more interested in talking about the team: “I hope it’s the first win of many for us. The most important thing was to win. I’m sure lots people can score we have lots of great players. I hope at the end we are the winners.”
The Whitecaps controlled most of the play in the first half. Montreal was running around in their own half looking much like an expansion team. Montreal’s best chance to score in the opening forty-five came in the 22nd minute when midfielder Justin Mapp stepped up just outside the box and fired a shot just over the bar. Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon wasn’t tested much early.
Montreal’s aggressive play helped them pick up a pair of yellow cards before half time. Midfielder Felipe Martins in the 18th minute and Patrice Bernier in the 27th minute after a rash tackle on Camilo. With the lack of talent and star power on the Montreal Impact, they can’t afford to have any players sent off for any ill-timed tackles this season.
Just like the first half the Whitecaps were quick to find the back of the net in the second half. After taking a nice pass from Davide Chiumiento, Camilo made a few gorgeous moves that turned Montreal defender Matteo Ferrari inside out. Camilo then fired the ball past Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts who was hung out to dry by Ferrari. Ferrari has who spent most of his entire career playing in Italy’s Serie a had a rough game for Montreal. If the Montreal Impact intend on keeping the ball out of their net this season Ferrari is going to have to get revved up to play a lot more inspired soccer.
Whitecaps play maker and leading assist man from last season Davide Chiumiento looked to be in top form. Chiumiento who admitted to being out of shape last season looked more like the player Whitecaps fans saw in the beginning of last season. If Chiumiento can keep up his great play making ability and can stay healthy Whitecaps fans should expect to see some brilliant passes and scoring opportunities from the Heiden, Switzerland native. Chiumiento had this to say after the game: “I feel good it was an important win at home. We played in a great stadium with great people in front of more than twenty-thousand so it was important to make a good performance and show that this year will be different.”
In the 64th minute both teams made their first substitutions. Vancouver brought on Jordan Harvey for Davide Chiumiento and Montreal swapped out Justin Mapp for Mike Fucito.
Montreal fans got a chance to watch promising rookie forward Andrew Wenger who was drafted 1st Overall in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft in January. Wenger came on in the 71st minute for Justin Braun. Wenger who can play all over the field should be a bright spot for the Impact this season. Wenger’s not sure when he’ll crack Coach Jesse March’s starting 11: “I don’t think so. I have a lot of progress to make and at some point hopefully when the coaches deem I’m ready I’ll be ready to take the opportunity.”
Both teams made another substitution in the 81st minute. Vancouver subbed on Matt Watson for second half goal scorer Camilo and Montreal brought on Miguel Montano for Brossard, Quebec native Patrice Bernier.
The Montreal Impact didn’t produce many strong scoring opportunities during the game. Although Vancouver only scored two goals against the newest MLS team you didn’t really get the feeling that Montreal was going to strike back and give the game a closer finish. The Whitecaps fed off the roaring crowd and the early goal by Le Toux really set the tone. It was clear that the Vancouver Whitecaps weren’t going to let a team from Montreal walk into their home and snatch away a win. The same could not be said for another team that laid an egg against a certain Montreal hockey team.
Notes: Whitecaps Goalkeeper Joe Cannon turned away 7 Montreal shots on target to earn his first clean sheet of the season. Vancouver and Montreal both play their second game of the season next Saturday on St. Patrick’s Day. Montreal hosts the Chicago Fire at Olympic Stadium while Vancouver travels to Carson, California to play Chivas USA.