Okay, so this match wasn't the most exciting one in the world; but the next one. Oh my god, the next one, you guys. The Anway Canadian Championship will come down to a one-match winner take all, after the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Montreal Impact battled to a 0-0 draw.
Rennie must have read my match report, ( I kid) because Brad Knighton got the start in net.
It's long been discussed, but Nigel Reo-Coker actually played the match at right back, giving YP Lee some of that much needed rest that was promised to him. Andy O'Brien and Johnny Leveron took their usual spots, while Jordan Harvey made a rare appearance in the starting lineup, taking left back.
Gershon Koffie and Russell Teibert found themselves in mid, but Jun-Marques Davidson was out in favor of Brad Rusin, a surprising choice for the role. However, according to the Whitecaps twitter handle, Rusin actually played defensive midfield for Martin Rennie for the Carolina RailHawks. Matt Watson, who looked so promising last season, also found his way into the starting midfield.
It was a chippy affair, with both clubs getting their shots in, but we'll get to that later. Scoring chances were at a freaking premium, and by that I mean, both teams look poor on the attack. It was almost like the two squads were each afraid to make a mistake, resulting in safe, relatively boring play with a few chances thrown in. The first one was at 19', when the Impact came close. Marco Di Vaio's broke into the 'Caps end and let go with a long dangerous shot that Knighton had to dive to stop. Two minutes later, Patrice Bernier let loose a low rocket that barely went wide.
That chippiness I mentioned truly started at 25', when Impact Defender Hassoun Camara gave Nigel Reo-Coker an idiotic, dangerous two footed tackle. 6 minutes later, it was Bernie coming in late on Leveron earning a yellow from the officials.
Unfazed, the 'Caps got their first chance of the night at 31', when Alain Rochat took advantage of a Matt Watson steal, ripping a shot that forced Impact keeper Evan Bush to make a nice save.
A minute later, Rochat tried again, sending a header off a corner that looked to be destined to cross the line. It was cleared off the line brilliantly, and Andy O'Brien couldn't finish the play, as his rebound shot was cleared.
The Impact would get their third yellow of the night shortly after, with Marco Di Vaio challenging Watson. That enraged 'Caps assistant coach Paul Ritchie, who exchanged some unpleasantries with Impact Coach Marco Schallibaum. Sadly, I don't think they'll be exchanging Christmas cards.
That would be it for the first half, and it would be the Whitecaps getting their noses dirty to start the second. Andy O'Brien earned a yellow at 49', the only interesting thing to happen for the Whitecaps for the next 20 minutes. Montreal started to put the pressure on, with the Whitecaps turning them away, led by the defensive prowess of Reo-Coker and O'Brien.
At 64', the 'Caps finally mounted a chance, with Russell Teibert blasting a shot just off the mark. The Impact had their go at 74', with former 'Cap Jeb Brovsky finding Di Vao in close, but his shot was blocked by Andy O'Brien, who is quickly becoming the 'Caps most valuable backliner.
That would be it for both sides, as the match would end in a draw.
They fielded a good lineup, battled hard, and grinded out a road draw. Home advantage goes to Vancouver, where they might actually be able to ride the home wave and do some damage. They need to be careful though; the Impact got here by ripping Toronto apart to the tune of 6-0 in the second leg.