Our match report and post game reaction from the 2013 Voyageurs Cup final second leg between Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact at BC Place. Not a lot of quotes from Montreal, as much of theirs was in French!
Vancouver Whitecaps’ Voyageurs Cup heartbreak continued at BC Place this evening. A 2-2 draw gave Montreal Impact their first Cup since 2008 and booked their place in this year’s CONCACAF Champions League group stages.
Goals from Camilo Sanvezzo and Daigo Kobayashi were countered by a strike from Felipe Martins and a header from Hassoun Camara as Montreal won the final on away goals.
Despite playing well, for Vancouver their two biggest woes from this season, poor defending and not taking their chances, were their ultimate downfall.
Both sides went with pretty much the strong outfield line-ups available to them, as an occasion of this magnitude deserved.
For Vancouver this meant the return up front of designated player Kenny Miller, playing his first game in many weeks following his hamstring injury.
Many pundits expected a cagey opening from both sides, but someone obviously failed to give Vancouver the script who came out for this one like a bat out of hell.
They pushed forward from the start and with less than a minute on the clock, Gershon Koffie played in Camilo Sanvezzo but he was blocked by Montreal keeper Evan Bush. The Caps kept the pressure on and Koffie fired over from just inside the box, as the home side looked to make an immediate impact.
They did just that, and saw their early pressure pay off, in the fourth minute.
Camilo was fouled 35 yards out, picked himself up to take the free kick, and drilled an unstoppable effort into the postage stamp corner, giving Bush no chance and Vancouver the lead.
It was one of the strikes of the year, from a position that he really had no right in finding the net from.
BC Place fell silent in the ninth minute when Hassoun Camara lost his markers in the box and had lots of room to head home a Justin Mapp free kick. Unfortunately for Montreal, too much room and the Quebec linesman put his flag up for offside sparking furious scenes on the Impact bench.
Vancouver continued to push for a second and they nearly got it in the 12th minute. Russell Teibert played a neat give and go with Nigel Reo-Coker on the right touchline before cutting inside and firing off a blistering shot from the corner of the box which Bush could only fist away for a corner.
Camilo played the corner in from the left and this time it was Montreal’s turn for some terrible marking and Johnny Leveron rose unchallenged to crash a header off the crossbar.
Montreal were starting to have a few forays forward, but the closest they came was when Felipe fired a long range shot well over in the 17th minute.
Reo-Coker powered his way through the Montreal defence in the 23rd minute and played the perfect ball across goal but Miller was poorly positioned and the danger was cleared.
The Englishman was at it again minutes later, this time firing a shot wide of the left hand post.
Vancouver were looking the more dangerous side and were eager to grab a nerve settling second. Kenny Miller tried to break free of two Montreal defenders, but couldn’t get daylight .
As the half hour mark approached Koffie was left unmarked eight yards out but headed over, in a move marked by the dogged determination of Teibert to retain possession for the Caps.
With five minutes of the half remaining, the Whitecaps got a lucky escape when Young-Pyo Lee took a swipe at an Andrew Wenger cross, but the ball just stopped dead. Luckily for the Caps, Andy O’Brien was on hand to clear the danger.
Kenny Miller had a couple of chances to end the half and as the whistle sounded, Vancouver went in very content with what had unfolded so far.
They continued to be happy at the start of the second and Camilo fired a shot inches wide of the right hand post three minutes in.
The happiness was soon to be extinguished and Felipe Martins silenced BC Place when he hit a stunning shot from the edge of the box after a weak clearance from Alain Rochat.
Things went from bad to worse for Vancouver when Koffie had to go off on a stretcher injured in the 57th minute and was replaced by Daigo Kobayashi.
Montreal were now happy to play a possession game, forcing Vancouver to win the ball off them.
The Caps were still looking dangerous when they were able to attack and Reo-Coker hit a shot across goal to the back post just past the hour mark but there was no anticipation from the rest of his team and the ball trickled out for a goal kick.
You could feel the tension rising at BC Place but that soon exploded into joy as the Whitecaps retook the lead in the 69th minute.
Reo-Coker played a cross into the box and Kobayashi and Camara challenged for it. The ball broke into the six yard box and Kobayashi’s tenacity paid off when he poked the ball home past Bush to send the home crowd into raptures.
They nearly had more two minutes later when Camilo crashed a fierce shot off the woodwork, as Vancouver pushed to try and kill the game off.
Both sides had a couple of half chances as the minutes ticked down and Montreal urgency got that little bit greater.
Montreal came close to grabbing the vital equaliser in the 84th minute when Mapp brilliantly played in a quiet Marco di Vaio, but O’Brien got in a vital block on his goalbound effort for a corner.
As the corner came up Camara rose unchallenged to head home the tie’s go ahead goal, with Vancouver having no men on the post to defend it.
It was now Vancouver who had the urgency and as the game entered into five minutes of stoppage, substitute Jordan Harvey headed a cross high and over.
Harvey had another chance in the 93rd minute when Darren Mattocks headed the ball into his path but he could only pull his low shot narrowly wide.
It was to be the last chance that the Whitecaps were to get and when referee Drew Fischer blew the final whistle, the Montreal bench exploded in jubilation whilst Vancouver’s players sank to their knees.
More heartbreak for Vancouver in the competition that seems like a curse to them. This time though you cannot knock the players for their efforts or blame outside factors for their loss. You can however blame two of the Whitecaps biggest problems this season as we said at the start - poor defending and the constant inability to bury their chances.
Montreal played the perfect counter attack game and showed just why they are a force to be reckoned with in MLS this season. Now they can showcase that on the bigger Champions League stage once again.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 2 Montreal Impact (2-2 on aggregate. Montreal win the Voyageurs Cup on away goals)
VANCOUVER: Brad Knighton; Young-Pyo Lee, Andy O’Brien, Johnny Leveron, Alain Rochat; Jun Marques Davidson, Nigel Reo-Coker, Gershon Koffie (Daigo Kobayashi 57), Russell Teibert; Kenny Miller (Jordan Harvey 73), Camilo Sanvezzo (Darren Mattocks 82) [Subs Not Used: Joe Cannon, Jordan Harvey, Matt Watson, Kekuta Manneh, Tommy Heinemann]
MONTREAL: Evan Bush; Jeb Brovsky (Collen Warner 82), Alessandro Nesta, Matteo Ferrari, Hassoun Camara; Justin Mapp, Patrice Bernier, Felipe Martins (Dennis Iapichino 88), Andres Romero (Blake Smith 73); Andrew Wenger, Marco di Vaio [Subs Not Used: Troy Perkins, Sanna Nyassi, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Wandrille Lefevre]
Martin Rennie on game:
"It did seem like we did almost everything right but it didn't quite drop for us. I think I can visualise clear chances in front of goal where I'm amazed they didn't go in, but they didn't. So that's what happened."
Martin Rennie on blowing two leads:
"When you score two goals at home that needs to be enough for us to win and that's happened on a couple of occasions where we've scored the goals we've needed to and ended up tieing games. That part of it is very disappointing."
Martin Rennie on his players:
"I'm very proud of the player's effort tonight. Their desire to do all the things we wanted them to do. The final ball, the final shot, wasn't as good as it needs to be. A couple of the moments defensively weren't as good as they need to be. But in terms of the commitment and the overall quality of what they're doing was very good. Now we have to move on and look at the next part of our season."
Marco Schällibaum on winning the Voyageurs Cup:
"I'm proud because I am in Canada and when you win the Cup in Canada, it's nice."
Marco Schällibaum on team coming back twice:
"I love this team because they never give up. They have a lot of energy and they know they can score at any time. That's the reason we are very good together. It's important to have this mentality till the end. To believe."
Brad Knighton on why Whitecaps lost:
"We need to take our chances. We created 15, 20 chances and they created 4, 5 and scored two goals and that's just not good enough. We need to take a whole lot of look at ourselves.
"This is a Cup final. It's a one off. And we've got to find a way to win these games. Not tie. Not give up two goals at home. So there's a lot of reflection going on right now."
Brad Knighton on having no defenders on posts for Cup winning goal:
"As you saw in the first half we had YP on the back post to start the game. They kept bringing numbers forward. They had two guys on top of the box in the first half, so we decided to take YP off the line, and take him and put him at the top of the box to try and create a numbers up situation there. Obviously, unfortunately, I think if he'd been there he'd have probably cleared it off the line.
Brad Knighton on defensive woes:
"Ultimately we weren't good enough defensively tonight. A lapse in marking and defending broke down. That's the way the game goes sometimes. It's just very frustrating."
"Giving up two goals a game for two games in a row now is not good enough. It's just one of those things defensively we need to get right and people need to pay attention to the stuff that we're going over in training because we go over that stuff day in and day out and ultimately it comes down to us being able to execute it on the field. They put up charts, they gives us video footage, they give us everything, but ultimately it's you versus the other man across from you on set pieces. It's not good enough right now and we need to figure it out and we need to figure it out fast."
Brad Knighton on losing Cup on home turf:
"It doesn't hurt any more than watching another team raise a trophy in your home arena. This one stings."
Kenny Miller on game and loss:
"I felt that we've pretty much dominated the game from pretty much start to finish. We've had a lot of chances, we've played some fantastic stuff, we've got our noses in front twice and at that point you're expecting to see it out.
"Again it's losing a goal the way we lost a goal, on a set play again. To say we're disappointed is a huge understatement."
Kenny Miller on team not taking more chances:
"I'll ask you guys. How many goals do you want us to score in every game? We're not going to score four or five goals in a game all the time. We need to be able to see games out. I mean, two goals at home. It should be enough to win a game. Yeah, we've created a lot of chances, we've had chances, but they've got players in positions to try and stop us scoring."
Kenny Miller on defending set plays:
"Defending set plays we've got to have a long hard look at ourselves because it's been too many times this season."
Kenny Miller putting a positive spin on things:
"I think what we need to understand as well is that yeah, we've not won the Cup, but we've not been beat over the course of two matches."