By Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press on September 16, 2020.
VANCOUVER – The Montreal Impact are out of this year’s Canadian Championship after dropping a 3-1 decision to the Whitecaps in Vancouver on Wednesday.
Montreal needed a win in order to top the table in the round-robin portion of the tournament. The loss means Toronto FC has secured first place instead.
Fredy Montero scored twice for the ‘Caps (4-7-0) and Cristian Dajome added another goal.
Romell Quioto had the lone tally for the Impact (5-5-1), with Saphir Taider getting the assist.
Clement Diop had two saves for Montreal and Thomas Hasal stopped three on-target shots for Vancouver.
The Impact went down a man in the 37th minute Wednesday after Rudy Camacho was given a red card for “violent conduct.”
Montreal’s loss comes just three days after the Impact dominated the ‘Caps in a 4-2 victory.
Vancouver switched both personnel and formation heading into Wednesday’s game, subbing Montero into the striker spot usually occupied by Lucas Cavallini.
Cavallini was suspended for the game after receiving two yellow cards in Sunday’s matchup. Montreal midfielder Emmanuel Maciel also received a red card on Sunday and has been suspended for two games.
Another red was doled out in the 37th minute on Wednesday.
Camacho went down after getting tangled up with Dajome in the box with no call on the play.
Montero went to help the French defender to his feet, but instead of taking his hand, Camacho punched Montero in the knee, producing a sound that echoed through the nearly empty stadium.
Montero took the ensuing penalty kick, putting a low ball in the bottom right corner of the Montreal net for his first goal of the season.
The goal seemed to provide a much-needed confidence injection for the ‘Caps.
Just minutes later, the squad put together a nice sequence that saw David Milinkovic get the ball to Dajome at the top of the box. The Colombian international sent a right-footed shot in past a diving Diop to put Vancouver up 2-0 in the 44th minute.
Montreal responded in the 70th minute when Taider sent a pass to Quioto in front of the ‘Caps net. The Honduran midfielder got a left-footed shot off under pressure, placing it in the top-right corner of the net and cutting the Impact’s deficit to one.
Montero struck again in the 78th minute, collecting a drop pass from Leonard Owusu and sending a rocket past Diop.
The Colombian striker nearly had another tally two minutes later, but missed the net. His disappointment was visible as he pulled his jersey over his face.
The loss means Montreal will not have a chance to defend their Canadian Championship title this year. The Impact took home the Voyageurs Cup last season after beating Toronto on penalties in the final.
TFC beat both the Impact and the Whitecaps twice to finish atop the round-robin portion of this year’s tournament.
Who Toronto will face in the final will be determined Saturday, when Hamilton’s Forge FC will take on Halifax’s HFX Wanderers in the finale of the Canadian Premier League season.
When and where the Canadian Championship final has yet to be finalized.
The MLS scheduled does not currently include another game on Canadian soil this season.
All three Canadian teams will soon travel to the U.S. for their next three matchups. The Whitecaps will play Real Salt Lake in Utah on Saturday and the Impact will head to their temporary home in Harrison, N.J., to host the Philadelphia Union on Sunday.
NOTES: Wednesday marked Montero’s first start of the 2020 season. … Janio Bikel was back in the Whitecaps lineup for the first time since March 7. … Spanish midfielder Bojan returned to the Impact lineup, coming off the bench in the 78th minute.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2020.