The Montreal Impact went into Wednesday's match at the Vancouver Whitecaps only needing a win for a spot in the Canadian Championship final, and the expectation was that the reigning Canadian champions would be able to get the necessary result.
They had begun to work themselves into the match midway through the first half and during the second built enough momentum to get a goal, but in the end, the result was a disappointing 3-1 loss to the Whitecaps that saw a game-altering red card when Rudy Camacho was sent off and conceded a penalty in the 37th minute.
"It had a big impact on the game," Montreal head coach Thierry Henry said after the match. "[It was] a red and a penalty at the same time. It’s not like you went down to 10 men and it was still 0-0. You went down to 10 men and it’s 1-0."
RED CARD: Rudy Camacho, Montreal Impact - 37th minute
Henry said his side had "a hand" on the match before the red card, but he was impressed with the team's second-half performance. They worked their way into the second half to the point where Romell Quioto scored in the 70th minute to give Montreal a chance. Though Fredy Montero scored to make it 3-1 to the Whitecaps just eight minutes after Quioto's goal, Henry was positive about the display despite the events of the match painting a different picture.
"What I liked is the reaction in the second half," Henry said. "Second half, we bossed the game. We got countered, as you can imagine, because we’re throwing men forward and trying to put them under pressure but we bossed the second half. We won the ball all the time.
"What you saw, obviously, was a massive negative," he added, "but I like to stay with the positive."
Still, the result came with the other downside that the Impact squandered a chance to end up in the Canadian Championship final. Though Henry said he went into the match against the Whitecaps thinking about the three points in the league that were up for grabs and that "whatever was going to happen was going to happen," the Cup result was not lost on midfielder Samuel Piette.
"I think we all knew what was at stake tonight," Piette said, "so I think that’s very disappointing."
For both Piette and Henry, though, the performance was similar to some of the team's other losses. The head coach said his side "lost to Toronto in a certain way," that day losing on an 89th minute goal from Jozy Altidore, and against the Whitecaps also "lost in a certain way." Piette was more blunt.
"We lost three points that, in my opinion, we should never lose," Piette said. "It was on us tonight. Stupid mistakes and once again, I think in this season, a lot of points that we lost, we gave them away and again tonight I think that was the case."