MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact and FC Edmonton delivered a taste of late drama one week ago, but Wednesday night's show brought down the house.
A Patrice Bernier penalty kick in the seventh minute of second half stoppage time stifled a thrilling Eddies comeback and gave Montreal a 4-2 win at Stade Saputo in the second leg of their Amway Canadian Championship semifinal series.
The victory saw Montreal turn around a 2-1 series deficit after Edmonton scored a late comeback win in the first leg, ultimately progressing 5-4 on aggregate. They will face the winner of the other semifinal between Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps for the Voyageurs Cup.
Edmonton didn't seem to have a prayer, however, after Jack McInerney got the Impact off to a flying start in the opening 17 minutes.
In the 10th minute, on a trademark foray down the right, Justin Mapp beat two opponents during before driving a low cross in. The ball touched Felipe on its way to McInerney, whose shot deflected off FCE defender Mallan Roberts and in.
Montreal added their second seven minutes later. After the Impact cleared a corner kick, Sanna Nyassi embarked on a long dribble down the middle. Nyassi’s pass in front of the area found Mapp, who backheeled it first time in the path of McInerney. The former Philadelphia Union striker finished coolly past goalkeeper John Smits for his third goal of the competition.
The Impact made it three and looked to be cruising in the 47th minute, when Jeb Brovsky nodded in Hernan Bernardello’s inswinger on a corner kick. The Montreal supporters, who had directed a few chants at the Impact front office for the second game in a row, now chanted Brovsky’s name.
The small contingent of Edmonton fans would then cheer for Frank Jonke in the 67th minute as the big striker made things interesting. From the edge of the box, 17-year-old midfielder Hanson Boakai slipped the ball through to Jonke, who lifted his finish over the onrushing Evan Bush to make it 4-3 on aggregate.
Two minutes later, those Eddies fans went from joyful to delirious as referee Drew Fischer called a penalty for a Karl W. Ouimette push on Neil Hlavaty. Jonke stepped up and powered his spot kick home for the crucial second away goal.
With Montreal again contrived to take the game to Edmonton, a stoppage-time shot seemed to strike Kareem Moses on the shoulder, but Fischer again pointed to the spot. Bernier converted to Smits’ right, confirming Montreal’s progression.
As the top seed, Montreal will play the first leg of the final at Toronto or Vancouver on Wednesday, May 28, and host the second leg one week later, on June 4.
First, though, Montreal return to MLS play when they visit D.C. United on Saturday. Edmonton continue their NASL season on the same day at the San Antonio Scorpions.