The morning after the night before and not only does it still hurt just as much, but the events of last night are still completely incomprehensible.
Vancouver Whitecaps crashed out of the CONCACAF Champions League last night without even kicking a ball.
Toronto FC went to the Stade Saputo needing to win by four goals or more to claim Canada’s berth in the Champions League, a scoring feat they’d only achieved once before in their history.
In the build up to the game Montreal Impact manager Marc Dos Santos stated that he would be putting out a weakened side as the game was meaningless to the Quebec side and he didn’t want to risk injuries for the League. No mention of pride or the fact that Vancouver did Montreal a favour last year in similar circumstances that let the Impact progress.
At this point Vancouver fans started to be a little wary as to what might transpire.
Even in their wildest flights of fancy however, no Whitecaps fans could have imagined what was to take place as Montreal fielded a reserve side, took an early lead through a penalty and subsequently lost 6-1. Yes, that’s right, they conceded SIX soft goals as Toronto clinched their first ever silverware and that all important Champions League spot as the Whitecaps players, management and fans could only look on in disbelief.
Unbelievable. Montreal didn’t just surrender, they completely capitulated.
A few weeks ago there were skirmishes in Rochester in New York state when the home fans taunted the visiting Montreal supporters with signs saying that they were “North America’s Shame”. Those Rhinos fans must be a bit psychic as after last night’s performance the Impact are Canada’s shame at the very least.
Those players looked like they didn’t give a shit out there. Watching the goals again and specifically looking at the marking and the players on the line, Toronto players rose unchallenged to head home when surrounded by Montreal players. The Impact strolled around with little urgency and less idea of what to do with the ball when they got it. If these were players hoping to impress the boss and break into the first team then the rest of the USL doesn’t have a lot to worry about.
The Montreal goalkeeper for the night (and I use that term very loosely) was Serge Djekanovic. As he flapped at crosses and stood rooted to his line, you couldn’t help but think what a good decision it was for the Caps to release him last season, as he clearly doesn’t have what it takes to make it as this grade. You would have thought that at least he would have been out to prove a point that he shouldn’t have been let go.
The Caps can hold their heads up high for how they played and what they achieved this year in the competition. There is no shame on them for not progressing. I feel so sorry for the players and management right now.
They were let down by a gutless and toothless display from a Montreal side that put in a performance that was a disgrace to themselves, their fans, the club and the jersey.
I think Vancouver has a new team to not just hate or have a “friendly” rivalry with, but to truly loathe. A team, that if they went out of business tomorrow, then you wouldn’t shed a tear.
In an ironic twist, Vancouver play Montreal in Montreal on Saturday. If they ever need any motivation before any game then last night gave them it tenfold. I’d expect a few hard challenges at the very least.
A Whitecaps contingent had travelled through early to take in the game and hopefully collect their deserved trophy. After the match, the Whitecaps players and officials were visibly shocked by what they had just seen and Caps President Bob Lenarduzzi did well to be restrained with the media, commenting:
“The idea of playing your full squad for the integrity of the game, that’s something that always should happen. It’s going to certainly require some discussion.”
In a touch of class, Montreal ultra fans group, the UMO2, are boycotting the first half of Saturday’s match in protest at what their Club did, how they played and the fact that they didn’t give a toss about the paying Impact fans there last night with that display. Nice touch and appreciated by the Caps faithful.
The only good thing I can take out of last night was that it showed to me just how much I care about the Whitecaps and what the Club has come to mean to me in such a relative short space of time.
As an East Fife fan (and Scotland fan) you’re used to underachieving and the lack of success. It still doesn’t make it any easier and when the disappointment and heartache is not even by your own doing, well then it hurts all that more.
I’m proud of all of our players and I’m proud to be a Cap today.
Can anyone in Montreal say the same of their team?