The Vancouver Whitecaps fell to the Montreal Impact 4-2 in an entertaining match for several reasons, as both teams combined for 4 goals and 2 red cards. Here is our match report from that one, as both teams rekindled their rivalry at BC Place on Sunday.
At the very least, it was entertaining.
While the Vancouver Whitecaps didn’t look good for a good chunk of their 4-2 loss to the Montreal Impact on Sunday, it was far from a boring games, as there were 6 goals and 2 red cards, with the two old rivals doing well to rekindle a long-lost flame in this one.
With Lucas Cavallini seeing red for Vancouver, while Emmanuel Maciel found himself sent off for Montreal, both teams were definitely emotionally invested in this one, even though they were maybe a bit too invested at times, as the cards showed.
For Vancouver, it’s a tough result, as they once again failed to win in back-to-back games, something which they haven’t done since May of 2019, with their defensive woes being a big point of worry once again.
On the other side, it was a big win for Montreal, who needed goals and all 3 points, especially considering their close pursuit of Toronto FC in the Canadian Championship race, which thanks to this result, looks a whole lot better than it did a day ago.
As these teams get set to reconvene on Wednesday for a huge match, at least for Montreal, they set the table nicely for what should be another entertaining game, with this one certainly looking like a precursor for a good rematch.
The Whitecaps came out with an identical lineup to the one that they put out last week against Toronto FC, as they elected once again to go with the 4-3-1-2, a formation that helped them break a lengthy goalless drought.
On the other side, the Impact also kept a similar lineup to the one that they put out in their last game, only making one change to the side that lost 2-1 to TFC on Wednesday, with Orji Okwonkwo slotting in for Lassi Lappalainen on the left wing.
And while the game started with the Impact on the front foot, the ‘Caps opened the score, as they put together a nice bit of play in the 8th minute.
It wasn’t the most intricate passing play, but after Lucas Cavallini did well to get the ball off of Emmanuel Maciel in midfield, the ball would find David Milinkovic in a good area, and he’d look up and play the ball into space behind the Impact defenders, to the left of Diop.
From there, Theo Bair would run onto the ball and take a few touches before slotting the ball low and hard into the far corner, giving him his 3rd career MLS goal, and his first at BC Place.
Soon after, the ‘Caps would nearly find a second, as Bair and Milinkovic would press the Impact into turning over the ball right at the top of their box, but Milinkovic’s ensuing shot would be palmed out by Diop, who did well to put his body in the way of the strike.
But while the ‘Caps looked lively for that short pocket to start the half, the Impact would find the next goal, as they capitalized on a costly Vancouver turnover in the Montreal half.
After some quick passes, they’d play Romell Quioto into the space behind the ‘Caps back line, and he did well to find an angle for his shot, but he would be denied by the post.
Luckily for him, however, the ball would bounce right to Saphir Taider, who would inadvertently hit it to a wide-open Orji Okwonkwo, who made no mistake with the gaping cage at his mercy.
With the game back in their hands, the Impact would wake up a little bit, as they’d start to ask questions of the Vancouver backline, but they were unable to find a breakthrough for their troubles.
That would nearly prove to be costly in the 29th minute, as the ‘Caps came close off of Cavallini, who despite being engaged in a duel at the top of the box, did well to get his head onto a dangerous ball from Ali Adnan, but his shot was just kept out by Diop, who crawled up to tip the ball over the bar.
Woken up by the warning sign from the ‘Caps, the Impact started to send waves of pressure towards the Vancouver goal. They came close at around the 38th minute, as they’d have a header from Taider ruled for offside, before forcing Hasal into a tough save in the 41st minute after a powerful strike from Victor Wanyama from just outside of the box.
Spurred on by the pressure, the Impact would finally break through in the 45th minute, as Quioto did what he does best, and that was run behind defenders, as he did very well to latch onto a pass before being fouled by Hasal, who recklessly lunged at his feet to try and grab the ball, giving Montreal a penalty.
Taider, who has never missed a penalty in his MLS career, would step up to the spot, and he showed why he has that record from 10 yards, as he’d slot the ball right into the corner, giving the Impact a lead heading into half time.
And while they were certainly happy with the goal, they wouldn’t stop pressing, either, as they nearly added a 3rd a minute later through Quioto, who cut in on Cornelius before shooting in the near post with his left foot, but he sent his effort just wide.
Heading into the half, it was a relief for the ‘Caps to only be down 1 goal, as they really switched off in the last 15 minutes of the half.
After starting so brightly, they started to let the Impact dictate the game, and that was reflected in the possession numbers, which were 57-43 in favour of Montreal, as they were doing a good job at moving the ‘Caps around and exposing gaps behind their defence.
But while you would have expected the ‘Caps to wake up after the break, the pause would prove to have the opposite effect, as the Impact scored 5 minutes into the second half, as Samuel Piette snuck into the box and got on the end of a Taider cross, giving him his first MLS goal in his 79th league game for the Impact.
From there, things would go from bad to worse from the ‘Caps, as they’d then lose Cavallini to a red card, as he’d nick Diop in the head with his leg despite the fact that the goalkeeper was holding possession, giving him a second yellow card and a sending off.
Visibly frustrated by the call, Cavallini would not react well after receiving his marching orders, as he’d get into it with Diop and Luis Binks, causing a brouhaha in the Impact box.
The Impact would then avoid wasting any time in taking advantage of the extra man, scoring nearly immediately after the sending off, as Piette would find Quioto with a lovely ball into the top of the six-yard box, and the Honduran would make no mistake, rolling the ball into the gaping cage past Hasal.
Down a man, the ‘Caps surprisingly started to wake up, as they’d come close via an effort from distance from second-half substitute, Cristian Dajome, in the 64th minute, before finding their second of the game in the 66th.
Cristian Gutierrez, another second-half substitute, did well to run down the flank and cross the ball into the box, finding the leg of Impact defender Rudy Camacho, who’d flick the ball into his own net for the own goal.
With that goal, things would open up, and maybe a bit too much so for the Impact, who’d go down to 10 men themselves in the 72nd minute, as Emmanuel Maciel caught Cristian Dajome with a vicious tackle that was originally given as a yellow, before the referee rightly sent him off for after a quick look at the VAR screen.
But despite seeing space open up on the pitch, the game would settle into a bit of a lull, as both teams would be unable to find much of an opening in the last 20 minutes.
Aside from a late push from Vancouver, who came close via Russell Teibert in the 88th minute, as the Canadian would see his shot inside the box get denied by Zachary Brault-Guillard on the line, the game would finish 4-2, which on the balance of the game, was a fair result for both sides.
At the very least, you certainly couldn’t fault the entertainment value that both teams provided, as they combined for 6 goals and 2 red cards in what was a very intense game.
While it was not the response you wanted to see from Vancouver after winning last week, as they are still yet to win back-to-back games since May of 2019, the game was filled with drama, even though it was for the wrong reasons in Vancouver’s case.
Man of the Match: David Milinkovic
While it was certainly hard to pick a man of the match in a game like this, David Milinkovic was certainly among the ‘Caps bright spots over the course of the 90 minutes, as he continued to grow into his role as a #10 in this 4-3-1-2.
He led the team with 4 key passes and 4 tackles, as he was a force on both sides of the ball, so expect to see more of him going forward, as he’s definitely made a claim to be the ‘Caps MVP through 10 games with his play so far.
BTSVancity Player to Watch: Fredy Montero
As we hinted at before the game, Montero made his return for the ‘Caps in this one, as he came off the bench to play 35 minutes at the end of the match.
And what an impact he made, as he was directly responsible for the second goal, and had a few other chances in the box.
With Cavallini suspended for at least 1 game after his sending off, expect to see more of Montero going forward, possibly in tandem with Bair, as he made a good claim for more minutes during his cameo.
Tweet of the Match:
After coming off as a substitute, Adnan impressively showered and changed into street clothes, prompting a cheeky tweet from Jake, who certainly gives you an idea of how impressive Adnan’s changing skills were in this one.
Heatmap of the match:
Overall, it was a strange match, and the heatmap reflected that. The ‘Caps struggled to get into the final third, but so did Montreal, yet the Impact came out on top as they were very clinical when they got into the box.
With the Impact holding more possession, 53%-47% to be exact, it’s not surprising to see their heat map cover more of the pitch, but the ‘Caps have to be better at getting into the box more consistently.
On the other hand, that the ‘Caps scored 2 goals was certainly something that cannot be diminished, especially in light of their recent offensive struggles.
Otherwise, there isn’t much else to say after what was a pretty eventful match between two old rivals, as it was certainly one to remember.
For the ‘Caps, it was more frustration once again, as they failed to build off of what they started against Toronto FC, while for the Impact, it was mostly a good game, aside from the 2 goals they conceded and their red card.
Luckily for both of them, they get to play each other again on Wednesday, with the Impact looking to clinch a spot in the Canadian Championship final with a victory, while the ‘Caps will look to get revenge, after losing 2 out of 2 games against the Impact so far in phase1.
With so much on the line for Montreal, as well as the chance to push up into the playoff position for Vancouver, expect some more fireworks on Wednesday, as they rekindle their long-forgotten rivalry once again.
Up Next: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Montreal Impact, Wednesday, September 16th, 2020, 18h30 PST, 21h30 EST (BC Place, Vancouver)