Vancouver Whitecaps open second MLS season with 2-0 win over newcomers Montreal Impact
TheVancouver Whitecaps started their second MLS season the same way they opened their first: with a decisive win over a Canadian rival before a sellout crowd at home.
And the newest members of the ’Caps showed enough promise during the 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact under the roof at B.C. Place Saturday afternoon (March 10) that the Vancouver fans should have good reason to hope their team won’t end up the way last year’s version did: out of the playoffs and at the bottom of the league.
New striker Sebastien Le Toux set the tone for the match by scoring after just four minutes, and other than a few second-half scares, Montreal—playing its first-ever MLS game as one of the league’s newest additions—was pretty much held in check by rookie Vancouver coach Martin Rennie’s tenacious backfield.
After a tentative first few minutes—during which two of captain Jay DeMerit’s clearance passes ended up as Impact chances—Vancouver defender Alain Rochat found forward Eric Hassli’s head for a perfect flick-on to fellow Frenchman Le Toux, who drove to the net and side-footed the ball under the hands of diving Montreal keeper Donovan Ricketts.
Veteran international defender Young-Pyo Lee, picked up by the Whitecaps during the offseason, showcased his skills on several occasions, demonstrating his speed down the right side after an early steal, robbing Montreal of a sure goal in the second half by clearing a Davy Arnaud header off the line after a corner kick, and performing some fancy footwork on the touch line late in the match.
DeMerit settled down quickly after his early jitters, executing a glorious but risky clearance on the full volley while chasing down Impact midfielder Sanna Nyassi and a long, high ball in front of ’Caps keeper Joe Cannon then playing steadily throughout the remainder of the game.
Nyassi was a dangerous presence throughout the match, probing and racing through Vancouver’s defence, but ultimately to no avail. New Vancouver defender Jun Marques Davidson slid the ball away from him in a perilous shooting position right at the half-time whistle; Nyassi shot just over the crossbar from directly in front at the 59th minute; and he was dispossessed by Davidson again in front of Cannon just seconds after Lee’s goaltending heroics.
In the 54th, Le Toux crossed, Hassli dummied, and Davide Chiumiento fed Camilo Sanvezzo in the right penalty area. Camilo fooled defender Matteo Ferrari by cutting in and left-footing it up inside the far post to make it 2-0.
Cannon wasn’t tested often (he was credited with seven saves) during the contest but was up to the best Montreal could muster. His picture save, if he actually got his fingertips on it, would have been in the 70th minute on a long-range full-volley cracker by Montreal captain Arnaud that went just over the top of the net.
In the best late chance, Rochet blasted a left-foot volley in the 86th minute that Ricketts did well to dive on and push off his left post.
Attendance was announced at 21,000. Vancouver had a slight edge in possession (50.8 percent) and received one yellow card from referee Ricardo Salazar to Montreal's two. The Impact out-fouled the Whitecaps two-to-one (26-13).