Montreal came to BMO Field on Wednesday night and, despite allowing Toronto FC to cancel their advantage from the first leg with the game’s only goal, lifted the Voyageurs Cup after a penalty shootout.
The title was their first since 2014 and snapped Toronto’s run of three-straight.
"It’s been a long time that I’ve been waiting for this,” said Ignacio Piatti in French post-match. “All of Montreal was waiting for this.”
Piatti scored the goal in the first leg and was awarded the George Gross Memorial Trophy as the tournament MVP.
“It feels really good,” smiled head coach Wilmer Cabrera, who just joined Montreal last month. “I’m very proud, but I need to share this trophy with Nick De Santis and [former head coach] Remi Garde. They did most of the job throughout the year; I cannot take full credit for this. They started off and I am the fortunate coach to finish.”
“Full credit to the players because they are the ones that put the effort, did what they did on the field and they deserve this,” he added. “[And] for the fans, for the city of Montreal, and for the club.”
That they lifted the cup at the stadium of their rivals made it a touch sweeter.
“Yes,” admitted Cabrera. “For the players, for the club. The fact that we can enjoy winning here in Toronto. The rivalry it’s something very special and the fans are really excited about that. The players, for them it’s a very good rewarding trophy because not only did we [win] against our opponent, but here at their home. It’s a good motivation, gives us the possibility to continue believing more in what we can do.”
With the victory, Montreal return to the Concacaf Champions League for the first time since they lost 5-3 on aggregate to Club America in the final of the 2014-2015 final.
“It’s going to be fantastic,” anticipated Cabrera. “For the city, for the players, that motivation. The club, now the possibility to build something bigger. Very motivated. It’s outstanding competition and they wanted to play and wanted perform at the international level. We put Montreal again at the international level, we put Montreal again flashing around the world, which is really important for all of us.”
Mid-press conference, his players sauntered in, interrupting the proceedings as their celebrations migrated from the pitch to the locker room. The feeling of lifting a long-sought trophy on a rival’s pitch was a sweet one for all involved.
“Really special,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “It’s a tough place to come. We knew coming in it was going to be really difficult to keep that 1-0 lead. You always want to lift the trophy at home, but to lift it in enemy territory is special as well. We’ll take that tonight.”