It was another road venue, with the same “new” formation and starting eleven as last week, ultimately resulting in the exact same scoreline.
But, in spite of another early deficit, the Vancouver Whitecaps rallied to a 2-1 victory of their own, behind goals from Andrew Jacobson and Cristian Techera. In doing so, the Whitecaps earned their first away victory of the 2017 season.
Carl Robinson led out with the 4-1-4-1 formation with a lineup identical to last week’s away loss to Portland, with David Ousted in net, a back four of Jordan Harvey, Tim Parker, Kendall Waston and Sheanon Williams behind Matias Laba; and Christian Bolaños, Andrew Jacobson, Tony Tchani, and Cristian Techera in support of the lone striker, Fredy Montero.
Montreal started on the front foot, possibly with memories of last season’s victory at BC Place on their collective minds.
It certainly seemed that way when Ignacio Piatti took an early deep run down the ‘Caps right flank, hoping to once again find Fraser Aird. Rather, he instead found a backtracking Waston who would shepherd the ball across the end line for a goal kick.
Only moments afterwards, Vancouver caught a break as the Impact were forced into an early substitution:
To translate, striker Matteo Mancosu was replaced in the 5th minute for the young Canadian international, Anthony Jackson-Hamel.
The sudden change opened up a brief spell of positive possession for the Whitecaps, as Montreal would need to improvise a new strategy, but it quickly turned out to be a positive for the home side:
What you’re seeing is defensive midfielder Marco Donadel two-bounce a thirty-three yard shot past David Ousted for the opening goal. The goal itself followed a scramble around the Whitecaps penalty area, ending with Williams caroming the ball with a sliding clearance to the center of the pitch.
I don’t know if it was the hectic play in front of him, the odd path the ball took to the net, or Jackson-Hamel doing just enough to distract, but Ousted was certainly caught flatfooted as the Impact took their early lead.
As any fan of the blue-and-white would hope, the Whitecaps dug their heels in, in attempt to find an equalizer, taking a strong majority of possession over the ensuing twenty minutes.
The ‘Caps looked positive on every foray into the Impact’s end of the field, yet couldn’t quite solve the final third of the pitch. Montero even had an attempt at a bicycle kick off a redirected ball, but was deemed offside on the play.
A breakthrough was nearly found in the 21st minute, as Techera was able to round Ambroise Oyongo to the end line, but his pass was caught up in Tchani’s feet, and the resultant shot was dragged wide of the post.
Nevertheless, the Whitecaps were undeterred and finally found their breakthrough in the 29th minute.
Following a foul and yellow card against Kyle Fisher, Bolaños whipped in a free kick from the left flank. Laurent Ciman successfully cleared the ball away, having it fall right in the path of Andrew Jacobson:
That’s a fine looking one-time volley from eighteen yards out, if I do say so myself.
Though the possession stats at this moment were 60/40 in favor of the Whitecaps, the second-half ran out with the Impact controlling a majority of the play.
Vancouver was able to weather the attack, however, as most attempts on net resulted in either a shanked shot by Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla or a shout for a PK from Piatti (once because Jordan Harvey leaned too hard; another when the ball may or may not have hit a Whitecap arm) as his “2016 Whitecaps Right-Back Scouting Report” continued to fail him.
The second half began with both teams owning their own fair share of the ball, though neither team were really able to find a footing. The Whitecaps were able to casually thwart the Impact’s attempts...:
...But were not able to register able any shots of their own within the first thirty minutes of the second half.
Both teams tried to adjust the offensive flow of the match with substitutions, with the Impact making a move first by subbing Dominic Oduro in for Hernan Bernardello in the 65th minute, leaving Robbo to respond only three minutes later, replacing Tchani with Alphonso Davies.
The Impact were forced into their final substitution only five minutes later, as the early sub Jackson-Hamel needed to be stretchered off the pitch
72' Daniel Lovitz comes on for Montreal as Anthony Jackson-Hamel is stretchered off #MTLvVAN— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) April 29, 2017
Daniel Lovitz was the incoming man on the sub, and he quickly made his presence felt. He paired up with Oyongo on the right flank, working around Williams before firing a cross to Tabla at the far post. Despite the tight angle, the young winger forced Ousted into making a sprawling save:
After Tabla missed a second effort at the back post in the matter of minutes, this time skying it to the last row at Stade Saputo, the Whitecaps finally found their breakthrough:
In the 79th minute, Jacobson collected the ball, turned, and lead Techera with a pass into the Impact penalty area, where El Bicho was able to cutback past a sliding Ciman, and fire under Evan Bush for the game-winning goal.
Though Montreal mustered a rally of their own, earning four late corner kicks, and forcing Ousted into making a few late stops, the Whitecaps were able to hold on for the 2-1 victory.
And, rightfully so, Andrew Jacobson earned himself the Man of the Match Slap from Kendall Waston: