FC EDMONTON vs. MONTREAL IMPACT
CLARKE STADIUM, Edmonton, Alberta
May 7, 2014 (Amway Canadian Championship semifinal first leg)
9:30 pm ET (Sportsnet One)
The Montreal Impact begin their defense of the Amway Canadian Championship this Wednesday, against FC Edmonton at Clarke Stadium, in the first match of a home-and-away aggregate goal series.
Amway Canadian Championship
The seventh edition of the Amway Canadian Championship features the nation’s five professional clubs, with the Montreal Impact, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Toronto FC from MLS, as well as Ottawa Fury FC and FC Edmonton from the NASL, all playing to represent Canada in the 2014-15 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.
The bleu-blanc-noir are defending their title after defeating Toronto FC 6-2 on aggregate in the semifinals last season, before a 2-2 road draw in Vancouver in the final following a scoreless draw in Montreal.
Midfielder Justin Mapp was named the tournament MVP with a goal and two assists, while Marco Di Vaio was the team’s leading scorer following his two goals and two assists, all amassed in the 6-0 win over TFC in Montreal.
In 2011, both clubs faced each other in the North American second division, with the Impact shutting out FC Edmonton twice, 5-0 on May 1 in Alberta and 2-0 on June 4 in Montreal.
The return match of this series will take place at Stade Saputo, next Wednesday, May 14, at 7:30 pm ET.
The Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Toronto FC will play in the other semifinal series on May 7 and 14.
The Montreal Impact, coming off a bye week in MLS regular-season play, were victorious in their most recent game, defeating the Philadelphia Union 1-0 at Stade Saputo on April 27.
Goalkeeper Evan Bush, who was the starter for last season’s title run, will be in goal once again for the Impact following a strong performance in 2013, going 1-1-2, with two shutouts and a goals against average of 1.00.
Four members of the Impact U-23 side made the trip to Edmonton as the ACC allows for five youth players to be part of each team’s roster. Defender Amine Meftouh, midfielders Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé and Victor Ndiaye, as well as forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel will be part of the gameday roster.
NASL representatives FC Edmonton won the preliminary round series of the ACC against Ottawa Fury FC thanks to a 3-1 win in the second leg following a 0-0 draw in Edmonton. Forward Daryl Fordyce scored a brace, while midfielder Hanson Boakai tallied a goal and two assists.
The Eddies lost their most recent matchup however, by a 3-1 score, to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Fordyce scored again in this one.
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Although Edmonton sit at the bottom of the 2014 NASL regular-season standings with a 0-3-1 record in their fourth season of existence, the blue and white side from Western Canada have kept most games close, losing by identical scorelines of 1-0 to Minnesota United FC and the New York Cosmos.
FC Edmonton have struggled offensively, scoring just twice in four league games and will be looking for more from former Canadian international striker Frank Jonke, who’s played every minute for the Eddies so far.
In Boakai however, the Eddies may have found an answer to their scoring ineptitude despite being just 17 years old. The Edmonton native of Guinean descent had played just 23 minutes in league play before exploding in the home leg of the preliminary round of the ACC, while helping 2013 team leading scorer and former Ireland youth international Fordyce break out of his early-season scoring drought.