Going in to tonight’s match at Saputo Stadium in Montreal, the Caps knew exactly what they had to do. Win.
It didn’t matter if it was by a barrowload or a scrappy one goal counter, the three points were all that mattered if they were still to harbour hopes of lifting the 2010 Voyageurs Cup.
Buoyed by a 2-0 victory at home to Rochester over the weekend, that belied the Caps pressure and possession in the game, the most pleasing aspects were that we got ourselves back on the scoresheet again and Jay Nolly and the backline increased their time without conceding a goal to a staggering 418 minutes.
The big question surrounding tonight’s match of course was which version of Montreal Impact would turn up. As it turned out it was a slightly weaker version of their first team, but still a strong line up. On paper at least. On grass it turned out they were shit.
Vancouver dominated the first half, but apart from Cornelius Stewart forcing Whitecaps reject Serj Djekanovic into a great point blank save after 9 minutes, we had little to show for all their possession and seven shots.
With no changes at half time, the Caps continued where they left off and dictated the play, getting their reward five minutes into the half when Ansu Toure drove home from just inside the box, with the help of an Impact deflection.
1-0 Caps and cue wild celebrations on the west coast.
The worst thing Vancouver could do now was to sit back and try and defend their lead. It’s just not something we seem capable of doing. Thankfully they didn’t and continued to push for a clinching second goal.
Vancouver joy lasted twelve minutes though when Montreal equalised against the run of play. Philippe Billy was left shockingly unmarked at the back of the box and drilled home an Eddie Sebrango pass.
Game back on.
Vancouver kept pushing and kept dominating whilst Montreal seemed bizarrely content to timewaste whilst drawing a meaningless match for them.
As the game went into the last ten minutes, Montreal decided to start to play some football and had some chances to kill of the game and Vancouver’s hopes. As it turned out, Vancouver managed to do that themselves.
With the clock ticking down, Montreal reminded everyone why they are Canada’s shame, continuing to waste time, clearly happy to finish bottom of the table again.
The final whistle gave Toronto their second successive Canadian Championship, leaving Vancouver to wonder about the what ifs and face a meaningless game in Toronto next week.
Disappointing all round. We can’t paper over that fact. At least in tonight’s game though Vancouver left the field with some honour still intact.
*** POSTNOTE – Just to add a wee edit, as we touch on in the comments below, since the original post was made as I was going out the door and was pissed off! Vancouver got what they deserved due to their impotent attack. There’s no taking away from that. We did not score enough goals and have no-one to blame but ourselves. Toronto deserve the Championship this year. Hopefully that should make us hungrier next year. Mon the Caps ***