Despite a 3-2 victory and impressive performance from Toronto FC, the Montreal Impact will be heading to the final of the Amway Canadian Championship for the third consecutive year.
Unlike their home opener on Sunday night against the Houston Dynamo, the Reds took the match to their opponents on Wednesday and really went for the victory. Greg Vanney decided to field a much stronger side than we saw last week in the first leg, with all three Designated Players getting the start. Jozy Altidore led the way with a goal and two assists, Sebastian Giovinco had a goal and an assist, and Michael Bradley also provided an assist, but it wasn’t enough for the home side to advance to the finals.
However, it was a much better performance from the Reds than we saw on the weekend and it is a game that the club will look to build upon as they get set to play the New England Revolution in Major League Soccer action on Saturday night.
“Yes, the task of the guys today was win the game, to set an identity for ourselves at home, to find some urgency as the game progressed, to position ourselves to move forward,” Vanney said following the match.
“We did all of those things. We made some mistakes for sure defensively that they could have cinched it up but the objective was to win the game, position ourselves, and go from there. Unfortunately we make an error at the end and we have to get better at a few of those things. It’s not the first goal that we have given away at the back with the weak side centreback losing his mark.”
Montreal defeated Toronto in the final of last season’s Canadian Championship to earn a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League, where they went all the way to the final against Club America. There is something about cup competition that Frank Klopas’ side just relishes.
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“I think in a tournament like that it was important at home to keep a clean sheet us and we had to make some changes like we talked about but we find ways to score goals,” the tactician said in the post match press conference.
“But those 5 minutes it was unfortunate because we were a man down and we could have handled the situation better. We found a way to score and it was a great effort by the team because we did a very good job pressuring their midfield. There were moments we had the ball and we were really good at doing so.”
The Impact will now need to turn their attention back on league play, where they have just two points from their opening five matches. They will host Real Salt Lake on Saturday afternoon in an attempt to earn their first win of the regular season.
Montreal will play the winner of the other semifinal between NASL side, FC Edmonton and the Vancouver Whitecaps, in a two-legged final in August.