It was rare day for Vancouver Whitecaps in Montreal on Saturday afternoon. Not only did we see the rarity of an unchanged starting eleven, but there was also the rare sights of a ‘Caps come from behind win and a victory away from home.
Despite falling behind early to a Marco Donadel strike, the ‘Caps put in a fantastic road performance to fight back and take all three points through a first half leveller from Andrew Jacobson and a late winner from Cristian Techera.
With a squad even further hit by injuries, Carl Robinson went with the same team that did well last week down in Portland, without getting the result. Despite three defensive midfielders on the pitch, the ‘Caps showed some promising attacking play against the Timbers, while shutting down Diego Valeri and Portland’s midfield for much, but not enough, of the match. The hope was the same again, but better, in Montreal with Ignacio Piatti.
This time around Vancouver went down to an even earlier goal, with Donadel’s low, long range effort getting past everyone, including David Ousted in the ‘Caps goal just nine minutes in.
It was poor defensive play all round by the ‘Caps, with no-one shutting down Donadel to let him get the shot off in acres of space to begin with, and then Ousted should have done much better getting down and keeping out the shot.
Was a long afternoon ahead for the Whitecaps? Well, no as it turned out, with the goal seeming to kick the visitors the spur they needed and they were the better team for most of the rest of an end to end half.
Tony Tchani should have done better when he poked one past the left post in the 18th minute, but the ‘Caps got themselves back on level terms just before the half hour mark with a screamer from one of the unlikeliest of players.
Christian Bolanos’ free kick was cleared by the Montreal defence, but only as far as Andrew Jacobson on the edge of the box and the veteran showed some of the composure and control that was missing last week to striker a sweet volley into the corner of the net. What a goal and the ‘Caps right back in it.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 29, 2017
It was a back and forth for the rest of the half but neither keeper was really tested and the teams headed in to the break at one apiece.
There wasn’t really much to write home about for the first half of the second half, but Montreal were starting to turn the screw as it went on and were certainly having their chances to retake the lead, and Ousted stood tall to deny Ballou Tabla with a leg save at his near post in the 74th minute.
Tabla had another great chance four minutes later but blasted over from close in with time on his side to bring the ball down.
It was to prove costly.
Somewhat against the run of play, Vancouver went up the pitch and took the lead with nine minutes remaining.
Jacobson was in the thick of the action again, springing Techera free into the box and the Uruguayan showed a cool head to drag the ball back to make room before burying the ball under Impact keeper Evan Bush.
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) April 29, 2017
Montreal sprung back into attack and Ousted came up with a sprawling save to parry away a shot before coming up big again with another leg save to keep out Tabla once more in the 87th minute as the Impact pushed for the equaliser.
As the game entered stoppage time, Montreal threw balls into the box but Ousted was commanding the box and punching the danger away and Vancouver saw this one through to the end for their away win of the season.
This three man DM/CM line up may just work!
FINAL SCORE: Montreal Impact 1 – 2 Vancouver Whitecaps
MONTREAL: Evan Bush; Chris Duvall, Kyle Fisher, Laurent Ciman, Ambroise Oyongo; Marco Donadel, Hernan Bernardello (Dominic Oduro 65); Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, Patrice Bernier, Ignacio Piatti; Matteo Mancosu (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 5), (Daniel Lovitz 73) [Subs Not Used: Maxime Crepeau, Adrian Arregui, Calum Mallace, Louis Beland-Goyette]
VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Sheanon Williams, Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Matías Laba; Cristian Techera (Russell Teibert 90), Andrew Jacobson, Tony Tchani (Alphonso Davies 68), Christian Bolaños (Nicolás Mezquida 81); Fredy Montero [Substitutes Not Used:
Paolo Tornaghi, Jake Nerwinski, Ben McKendry, Mauro Rosales]
On earning a first road win this season:
“Any points on the road are big. We had not picked up points on the road before today, but last week, I think we played very well against an in-form Portland team. We wanted to replicate that performance today and I think we did, especially in the first half; some of our football was outstanding. Even after we went behind, we maintained our focus and discipline and we were able to get level and win the game.”
On Andrew Jacobson’s volley:
“It’s a good finish. I thought we scored on our hardest chance in the first half. Jacobson is a mature player, an experienced player, and he put in a mature performance today. I think his positioning was excellent. We know Montreal has got a very good midfield with Marco Donadel, Hernán Bernardello and Patrice Bernier and we needed to stop that source. I think we certainly did that.”
On starting the same 11 two games in a row:
“Sometimes in football, you make decisions for certain reasons. I would love to keep a settled team every single game, but that does not happen due to injury, loss of form, suspensions… We got 11 injuries at the moment. Every fit player has traveled on this trip. These situations give opportunities to other players. You need a squad in this league. We are stretched at the moment, so I am proud of every single one of them in here today.”
On winning for the first time on the road:
“It’s very important. We won, we lost, and we wanted to start building up our confidence by winning. It’s the only way we can be in the playoffs at the end of the season. Winning on the road is good. We didn’t want to fly that long to go back home without any points. It’s a good feeling.”
On two consecutive away games with good performances:
“Sometimes it happens. Sometimes you play very well and you lose, like last week against Portland, but football gives you back the good things you do. The good thing is that we are playing well, we feel good, and that’s the way to be successful. Winning makes you believe in what you do.”
On the team’s performance:
“I think it’s a very good win in the way we did it. We did it by being aggressive, by playing and pressing and playing collectively.”
On his volley:
“I knew I would not have time to take it down. I just wanted to get a decent connection on it, not hit it as hard as I could, and see what happens.”
On the early goal and the momentum:
“I think we came out to play. It did not happen after the goal, I think we started that way. They got one early, but we just continued what we wanted to do.”
On a second good road performance in two weeks:
“It was good to follow up from last week. We did not get the win, but we performed well. What we wanted to do is continue down that road and we came here to play well. I think we got what we deserved.”
On the momentum in the game:
“I thought in the first half, after we scored, we were slow, reactionary in the middle. We were not able to deal with their overload, with Bolaños coming underneath and Jacobson and Tchani playing in between the lines. They were getting out of situations while we were getting tired as they possessed the ball and they finally hurt us. In the second half, we played with more intensity, we moved the ball quicker and we were able to create some chances, but we did not score.”
On having one win in eight games:
“I’m concerned. It’s my job to be concerned and to find solutions. Right now, certain things are not working. I think we still have to do a better job about not giving easy goals. At the end of the day, we did create, so there is a positive. I think their goalie makes a couple of good saves in the second half after we conceded. But, at the end of the day, we need to find that consistency that is not there right now. It’s my job to figure that out and to get the team on the right track.”
On letting the away team come back and win:
“I think we took our foot off the pedal a little bit. I think they scored with a pretty good finish, and I think it comes down to being more tenacious in the box, on both sides of the ball. We have to make improvements on being tougher, winning our battles to put the ball in the back of the net to do that tap-in or to get that touch on the ball to get it out defensively. I think it’s down to toughness.”
On a tough start to the season:
“I think eight games and one win is a little concerning. I think we have the right pieces, it’s just the mentality. We need to be more ruthless.”
On the team’s performance:
“It’s hard to say. We lose, so we are disappointed. I think there are positives. I think that, on my part, it’s frustrating. I had four balls during the whole game. It was pretty complicated. I will congratulate [Kyle] Fisher. I think he did well, I tip him my hat. After that, we take preventable goals. On the second one, it’s not a great pass by myself, but we have to fight on those balls. We lost at home, I am disappointed, I am frustrated.”
On a tough start:
“For sure, we are in a red zone. We have to work physically. I think we are not sharp right now. We have to roll up our sleeves and work.”