VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Montreal Impact are Canadian champions, thanks to a late Hassoun Camara header that secured a dramatic 2-2 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place on Wednesday night in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship finals.
Following the scoreless first leg, all Montreal needed was a draw to claim the trophy in Wednesday's second leg – which they secured through Camara’s 84th-minute header and a 49th-minute strike from Felipe.
The Impact rallied from deficits twice and stunned BC Place on the decisive play, when Camara headed home a Justin Mapp corner to win Montreal their first Voyageurs Cup since 2008 and the right to represent Canada in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League.
It appeared for stretches that the Whitecaps would prevail, however. The home side came out of the gates with a bang, and opened the scoring four minutes in when Camilo rifled in a superb free kick from 35 yards out into the top right corner of Evan Bush’s goal, glancing off the inside corner of the post before rippling the mesh.
The 'Caps kept the pressure on for the opening 20 minutes and nearly scored twice more, but were forced to settle for a 1-0 lead heading into the half.
Four minutes after the break, the Impact answered through Felipe, who struck a powerful, curling effort past Brad Knighton. The Brazilian reacted well to a loose ball that sprung out to the edge of the area after an attempted shot from Andrew Wenger was blocked by a defender.
The entirety of the second half was end-to-end action, as Vancouver desperately sought to overturn Montreal's away-goals advantage. In the 69th minute, the breakthrough came when second-half substitite Daigo Kobayashi banged home a loose ball in the area after Nigel Reo-Coker sent a cross in from the right.
The 'Caps could taste their first Voyageurs Cup and tried to lock it down. Six minutes from time, center back Andy O’Brien hurled himself at the ball to deflect a goal-bound Marco Di Vaio shot out for a corner – the set piece that would decide the tie.
Both clubs are back in action in MLS action on Saturday weekend, with the Whitecaps traveling to New York and the Impact visiting Sporting Kansas City.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Justin Mapp||Most improbable MLS renaissance contined Wednesday night, as veteran winger supplied the winning strike.|
|2||Nigel Reo-Coker||Maginificent performance from Englishman, whose every surge forward brought the entire team with him.|
|3||Camilo||Besides the free-kick golazo, little Brazilian could've had two more – 'Caps sure could've used them.|