MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact just booked themselves a flight.
Actually, FC Edmonton did it for them when they beat the Ottawa Fury 3-1 on Wednesday night (3-1 on aggregate) in the Amway Canadian Championship preliminary round, a new feature in this year’s competition.
In the semifinal, beginning May 7, Edmonton will face No. 1 seed Montreal, who must now forget about a possible two-hour bus ride and get ready for a four-hour flight to reach the first stop in their ACC title defense.
Just more bad luck, said forward Marco Di Vaio.
“We’ll have to go on a long journey, but c’est la vie,” Di Vaio told reporters on Thursday. “We must prepare the game and the travel well, and we know that we have to play a big game against Kansas City next. It won’t be an easy week, but we can rest this week and work more specifically and intensely. Then, next week, we have to manage the travel and the two games.”
Impact head coach Frank Klopas watched Wednesday’s game as closely as the online feed let him. No matter the result, his team would face the winner for the very first time in the ACC. Ottawa are an expansion side in NASL this season, while Edmonton have been eliminated in the semi-finals by Vancouver (twice) and Toronto each time they’ve entered the ACC.
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Klopas, a veteran of many cup ties against lower-division teams in his playing career, called for his team to approach the tie with a “focused and serious” state of mind.
“We’re playing against a good team and there’s no easy task,” Klopas said. “But it’s a two-game series, so we have to be very focused there. It's a team, I think, that’s very good in transition. They have pace out wide. They have some good, quality players. They’re very organized defensively. So it’s not going to be an easy task, for sure.”