It was a game of two halves. If I didn’t know better, I thought that it could’ve been two different games, that’s how different they were.
Like as his custom, Robinson trotted out a brand new starting lineup and formation. 3-4-2-1
Seiler/de Wit/de Jong
According to those who have watched WFC2, have seen plenty of Seiler and deWit in a back 3 situation. They spoke rather confidently, but those of us who remember the first experiment this year with a 3 man backline were a bit skeptical.
Jumping ahead to the 13th minute, off a Richey goal kick, 2 quick touches by Rosales, and a flat pass by Shea, an apparent dummy by Nico on the edge of the 18 found Davies streaking towards the spot and he calmly slots it past an onrushing Maxime Crepeau to give the hosts the lead.
Calm, cool and collected, @AlphonsoDavies bags the first of the match! #VANvMTL #canChamps pic.twitter.com/HDN7kXAizk— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) May 24, 2017
Davies continued to cause problems throughout the first half while the trio of Seiler, de Wit and de Jong stood tall in front of Richey. After beating 2 guys 1v1, Davies turns the ball over at the edge of the box, Mezquida picks it up and beats Crepeau on the short side to make it 2-0 Caps.
33' @AlphonsoDavies with the hustle, and @nico_mezquida with the clinical finish. 'Caps up 2-0. #VANvMTL #BattleoftheNorth pic.twitter.com/vSUix8w0QQ— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) May 24, 2017
The Caps would get to the halftime break, up 2-0. So far, so good, right?
Guess again. The 2nd half would open and Montreal was immediately on the front foot, knowing that even 1 goal would get them back in the fixture. Just after the hour mark, Montreal finally gets on the board. A long ball played to Jackson Hamel just inside the 18, a flicked header to Choniere who calmly buries it to give Montreal the all-important away goal. Minutes later, Duvall’s strike off the post finds Jackson-Hamel who put the rebound wide before burying his head in his hands knowing that it was his for the taking.
Montreal kept pressing and in the 72nd minute an amazing run by Ballou Tabla forced a last ditch tackle by Seiler and his trailing hand made contact with the ball and referee Fischer pointed to the point. Bernier struck the penalty well, but Richey, with a quick headfake, dove to his right and got one of his outstretched arms to parry the ball wide. Montreal would come really close one last time late in stoppage time. A Montreal corner found Bernier who put his shot on target, but was denied by the right boot of Spencer Richey.
Final whistle blows and the Caps take a 2-1 lead to Montreal for Leg 2 next week.