VANCOUVER, B.C – The Vancouver Whitecaps battled the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo Stadium on a cloudy afternoon in Montreal before 20,006 fans. The visitors came into the match 6 points out of a possible playoff berth in the MLS Western Conference Standings.
Vancouver came away with a 3-0 win thanks to a penalty converted by Scotsman Kenny Miller, and a pair of second half goals from Brazilian substitute Camilo Sanvezzo in the 88′ and 91′. David Ousted made 6 saves to earn a clean sheet as Vancouver came away with a crucial 3 points as they strive to make the MLS post-season.
An early goal in the 7′ opened the scoring when Hassoun Camara was called for a handball inside the Montreal box. Nigel Reo-Coker made a fantastic run down the right flank. As he centred the ball across the Impact box, Matt Watson’s attempt on target struck Camara’s hand. Referee Jorge Gonzalez had no choice but to point to the spot. Kenny Miller made no mistake converting the PK to the left of the keeper Troy Perkins. For Miller this was his first goal since August 10, vs San Jose. Coincidently this was the last time the Vancouver Whitecaps won a match.
Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit made his first start since tearing his Achilles tendon during the opening match of the season. DeMerit’s defensive ability paid dividends in the 23′ when he made a great block off Felipe Martins. Montreal looked to have a sure goal until DeMerit got his foot in the way of the oncoming kick.
Vancouver has a magnificent opportunity to make it 2-0 in the 34 minute. Nigel Reo-Coker sent in a lovely free kick from the left side of the pitch. Caps Centre-Back Carlyle Mitchell rose from inside the crowded Impact box and headed the ball square off the crossbar. The ball then hit Perkins in the arm and fell to Jordan Harvey. Harvey’s attempt went wide, and Vancouver squandered a wonderful opportunity.
The missed chance for Mitchell, and Harvey almost came back to haunt the Whitecaps moments later when some controversial referring entered the match. Patrice Bernier’s attempt on target struck Jun Marques Davidson in the shoulder. Jorge Gonzalez pointed to the spot and awarded the Impact a penalty. However after talking to the 4th official, Gonzalez reversed his decision, and gave Montreal a corner.
Both teams played an even first half, and could have scored more goals than they did. Tommy Heinemann missed a great chance, and Montreal squandered their opportunities when they drove forward and attacked. The Impact held a 61-39 advantage in possession, however Vancouver held a 1-0 advantage after the first forty-five.
After the break Nigel Reo-Coker hit the crossbar with a direct strike as he cut across the Montreal Impact box. The Whitecaps fierce midfielder had a brilliant first half as he was all over the pitch, and made two great runs down the flanks. Moments later Miller fired over the net from in close, and Matt Watson missed a glorious chance to score after stealing the ball from the Impact keeper.
Montreal had their own miss off a crossbar in the 54′ when Justin Mapp found Felipe Martins unmarked in the Whitecaps box. Felipe was able to connect with a scissor kick which struck the bar. Montreal had been pressing after the trio of Whitecaps had all missed wonderful chances to put Vancouver up 2-0 in the second half.
The Whitecaps had an injury scare in the 60′ when Kenny Miller left the match with what appeared to be a groin injury. Martin Rennie brought on leading goal scorer Camilo Sanvezzo. The dynamic free kick specialist found himself stapled to the bench to start the match in favour of Tommy Heinemann. The 26 year-old made only his second start of the season.
Ousted, the Whitecaps keeper earned his pay-cheque in the second half with monumental saves as Montreal came close to finding the equalizing goal. The Dane made a finger-tip save in the 64′ off a shot from Patrice Bernier, and he stopped MLS leading scorer Marco Di Vaio when he hammered the ball on target in the 69′.
The Caps keeper was not finished, and he also turned away Montreal substitute Daniele Paponi twice with the most dangerous opportunity to score coming when the ball bounced around in the Whitecaps box. The Italian fired a shot through Jordan Harvey’s legs. Ousted was in perfect position to make a fantastic save.
Ousted’s huge saves came at the perfect time as Vancouver finally got forward and scored a back-breaking second goal. Y.P. Lee sent a long ball up the pitch to Camilo. The speedy striker out ran Impact Centre-Backs Alessandro Nesta, and Matteo Ferrari and fired a long strike on target that eluded Perkins in the 88.
The Whitecaps magician was not done as he scored in the 91 minute with an absolute cracker from outside the Impact box. Camilo had all sorts of time and space to find the top corner for his 16 MLS goal of the season, and his second of the match in a three-minute span. Vancouver were well on their way to toppling the now struggling Montreal Impact with a much-needed 3 points.
Martin Rennie came up with a perfect game plan to stretch the Impact and tire the ageing central defenders over the course of 90 minutes. Vancouver now sit 4 points out of the 5th and final playoff spot in the West with 5 matches left to play.
Notes: This was the Whitecaps first win in the month of September since entering MLS in 2011. David Ousted has now recorded back to back clean sheets. Brad Rusin did not make the trip to Montreal after re-injuring his ankle last Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes. Whitecaps keeper Joe Cannon is not currently with the team.