VANCOUVER, B.C. – It was supposed to be Sébastien Le Toux's night off.
Instead, with the Vancouver Whitecaps under pressure from FC Edmonton in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals, head coach Martin Rennie brought his star off the bench to stabilize the situation after the visitors came to within a goal of equalizing the tie through a 54th minute goal from Yashir Pinto.
“It wasn’t a good game,” Davide Chiumiento told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “We played bad for 70 minutes, but we defended not bad. They scored one goal and we had 20 minutes where we were a bit lucky, and a little bit scared maybe. But the last 15 minutes we scored three goals and at the end it’s important to go through – but it wasn’t a good game.”
Le Toux made the intended impact, scoring two goals within 12 minutes before fellow sub Darren Mattocks scored in stoppage time to push Vancouver across the finish line and into the finals against Toronto FC with a 3-1 victory on the night and a 5-1 win on aggregate.
“These games can be changed by subs,” captain Jay DeMerit told reporters after the match. “Tonight, that was the big change that we needed. These games can be funny at times, especially with an aggregate score. But I thought we showed good character to stay in it.
“I thought we showed good character to come back after they had scored the goal and really push on to the final whistle and to get a couple of goals by the subs. The way that they showed character to come on and change the game was the biggest plus."
Though Le Toux’s goals in the 75th and 87th minute earned him the sponsor’s man of the match award, Chiumiento, who played the full match and set up all three of his side’s goals, should have got the honor, according to the man who bagged the brace.
“I don’t think I’m the man of the match,” Le Toux said. “I think it’s Davide Chiumiento – he got three assists. I was very happy about my goals. Lucky on the first one and lucky on the second one, because I never really score with my head, but Davide gave me a great ball and saw my run, so it was great.
“I maybe wasn’t supposed to play but I was ready and the coaching staff needed me, so I’m lucky we won tonight.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.