In a West Coast clash at Swangard Stadium Friday night, the Montreal Impact defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 before almost 5,300 Whitecaps faithful. The victory evens Montreal’s season record to 11-11-7, while the Whitecaps suffered only their fifth loss the 2010 regular season, leaving them still atop the NASL Conference with a 10-5-14 mark, but vulnerable as a Carolina win tonight over Puerto Rico would leave both Vancouver and Carolina sharing the NASL Conference lead.
Montreal has been on a tear, winning five of its last six games. In doing so, they have outscored opponents 14-3. Although the Whitecaps were successful in holding Ali Gerba without an official shot (Gerba’s headed goal was nullified by an offsides call), they were unable to corral Montreal forward Eduardo Sebrango. The 37 year-old Cuban took an Adam Braz cross and headed past Jay Nolly right before the half hour markfor his fifth strike of the season. As Sebrango noted, “We played a very good game against an excellent team. Adam made a great cross on the goal and there was no way I was going to miss a chance like that. After a tough start this season, I am happy to be contributing to the team’s recent success and I am proud of this accomplishment.”
The derby between the two Canadian rivals brought out passion and some ill-tempered play. Seven yellow cards were issued, and a scuffle broke out early in the second half when Whitecaps’ midfielder Blake Wagner fouled Braz. Whitecaps’ substitute Gershon Koffie was ejected later and the Whitecaps finished with ten men. Koffie was only in the game for eight minutes, as his two footed tackle on Montreal midfielder Leonardo di Lorenzo caused his ejection. Montreal goalkeeper Matt Jordan earned the shutout, making three saves which included repelling an excellent free kick by Swiss international Davide Chiumiento in the second half.
“It felt like a playoff game tonight,” said Montreal head coach Marc Dos Santos. “We knew that the Whitecaps wanted to win to remain in the race for first place in our division but we were ready. On our side, we want to end the season on a successful note. Tonight we won the game with a lot of character.”
Friday’s game ended the season series between the two clubs. Vancouver took the season series, winning twice, while losing once and with one draw between the two MLS- bound clubs. Coach Teitur Thordarson’s Vancouver club concludes its regular season at Swangard Stadium next Saturday against Portland. Montreal finishes the regular season next Sunday afternoon at Saputo Stadium against the Austin Aztex.
Notes: Sebrango’s goal put him at 100 points in his career with Montreal, second in all-time scoring for the club. Montreal captain Nevio Pizzolitto become the fourth Impact player to log 2,000 minutes in 2010. Matt Jordan made his 80th career start in the Montreal goal. Whitecaps’ attacking midfielder Davide Chiumiento made his 2010 debut Friday night. The former FC Lucerne player scored 17 goals in 88 games for the Swiss club. Vancouver residency products Ethan Gage and Philippe Davies were in the starting lineup Friday.
Vancouver Starting Lineup: Nolly, Janicki, Gage, Forko, Bellisomo, Wagner, Nash, Dunfield, Davies, Mobulu, Arnoux Subs Used: Chiumiento, McDonald, Elliott, Koffie, Edwini-Bonsu
Montreal Starting Lineup: Jordan, Pizzolitto, Braz, Billy, Aaboubou, Testo, Ribeiro, Donatelli, Di Lorenzo, Sebrango, Gerba Subs Used: LeGall, Pelletier, Placentino, Terminesi, Charles