Fucking gutted. That pretty much sums up how I feel after tonight’s game, but that’s the wonders of Cup football.
Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact played out a one all draw in the Caps’ first match of this season’s Nutrilite Canadian Championship. I guess you could say it was a slow builder of a game from the Caps point of view. That’s being generous.
It’s not that I’m gutted that the Caps were robbed of three points or anything silly like that, as we most certainly weren’t. It’s more gutted that the team turned in such a piss poor performance for most of the match. We could and should have done much better and that’s one of the big disappointments at the end of this evening.
Why it took 75 minutes for Vancouver to wake up and actually look like they wanted something from the game is both a puzzle and an annoyance. Up to that point Montreal, who looked equally poor for most of the game, seemed in complete control after going one up after 31 minutes. In control but threatening very little it has to be said. Even up to their goal they didn’t seem much of a danger.
They didn’t really need to offer much of course when the Caps were even struggling to string passes together at times and even the usually steady Jay Nolly had a few shaky moments. Nothing was coming from the midfield in the first half and it seemed like we weren’t playing with any attack at times. There was just nothing up front.
I hate the 4-4-1-1 formation that Teitur adopted for the start of this match. It’s not just tonight, I just don’t like it at the best of times and especially not when you’re the home team. With Montreal lining up 4-5-1 it was clear that neither side were looking to commit themselves forward too much early on.
Montreal opened the scoring through Peter Byers just after the half hour mark and it was a beautiful through ball from Tony Donatelli that did the damage. It was what we were missing from the game the whole night and it caught the Caps defence flat footed especially Greg Janicki.
Byers finished really well, although he should have been booked for goading the Southside after he scored. He could have had a lot worse with his actions.
Even if he hadn’t scored, the Impact would have had a penalty as Janicki was all over Byers as he tucked his finish away, seemingly wanting to swap shirts mid-match.
If we thought that would spur on Vancouver we were very much mistaken and it didn’t seem like we would have any way back into the match the way we were playing. We were dominating the second forty-five possession wise but with very little in the way of a danger to the Impact goal.
Montreal’s actions in the second half were a disgrace though. They were happy to timewaste and go down injured at the slightest thing. I thought the five minutes of added on time at the end was a few minutes short of what it could have been and that could have proved vital at the end of it all.
The turning point for Vancouver came in the 78th minute, thanks to a series of fortunate events followed by a moment of Impact madness. Jay Nolly sloppily played a Chris Williams backpass short to Janicki in the Caps box. Montreal sub Reda Agourram quickly pounced on the mistake but Janicki did well to recover and knock the ball away leading to a slick Caps passing move upfield.
As Marlon James headed towards the box from the right, he found himself sandwiched between two Montreal defenders and went down with seemingly no contact just on the edge of the box. WIth what the Impact have done to us recently, we deserved a break.
The resultant free kick came across and the Impact’s Adam Braz inexplicably bulldozed Janicki out of the way and sent the big defender sprawling towards the goal. A clear penalty and a second booking and a sending off for Braz.
Braz was going to miss the next match with TFC anyway after picking up a booking earlier in the game, but he was somehow furious uttering “fucking cunt”, which was picked up nice and clear by the TV mics, as he left the pitch. No idea why he was complaining as it was a clear foul.
Jordan’s antics at trying to put Marcus Haber off the spot kick should have seen him booked but it didn’t put off the big guy and Marcus coolly slotted home to the bottom right hand corner for his first goal since returning to Vancouver on loan . One apiece with ten minutes and stoppage time to go.
The goal sparked the Caps into life and saw them camped in the Montreal half for the rest of the match. James came oh so close to netting the winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time but after doing well to get on the end of a long ball, he saw his effort go agonisingly inches wide of Matt Jordan’s left hand post.
The game ended in more controversy, and more shame for the Impact, when they were reduced to nine men when Agourram was sent of for lashing out at Chris Williams in the dying seconds. Obviously they’re aiming to be the thug team of the NASL this season. A straight red and there should be no complaints from Montreal on that one. Of course there will be as they’re moaning bastards at the best of times.
So a draw was how it finished. Not much use to either team’s chances and it leaves Vancouver needing to take six full points from Toronto I feel for them to progress as Champions.
During the second half we were saying that we would take a point by that stage, due to the way we had been playing. By the end, the point felt like a deflating defeat.
There’s still a long way to go in the competition and the Caps know it’s still all in their own hands.
I can’t wait for the TFC game already. Let’s just hope they play for the full ninety minutes like men possessed this time around. Mon the Caps.