Home MLS Montreal Impact Bernier’s wonderful night propels Montreal to rout of TFC

Bernier’s wonderful night propels Montreal to rout of TFC

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Earlier this season, we wondered if Patrice Bernier had played his last game for the Montreal Impact. Once the face of the franchise, Bernier was pushed to the periphery by coach Frank Klopas.

But, at the end of August. when Mauro Biello replaced Klopas as head coach, Bernier was rediscovered. A Quebec coach began to put faith in the Quebec star; the minutes increased throughout the autumn.

And, in Montreal’s playoff match against their 401 rivals, Bernier was called upon to start. And, he stomped all over the hearts of Toronto FC fans. Thursday marked the team’s first-ever foray into the post-season. Well before the first half came to a close, it was basically over. The Impact was up by three goals, on the way to a 3-0 triumph. The second half became a glorified training session.

And Bernier’s role in the rout can’t be overstated; he scored the opener before the 20-minute mark. He then set up Didier Drogba for the third goal of the half, a lovely little cross that the Ivorian superman only had to nudge into the open goal.

Bernier’s first-half highlight reel bookended Ignacio Piatti’s goal; Piatti took advantage of TFC defender’s Josh Williams slip and then went in alone on goal. But it wasn’t all Williams’s fault. His centre-back partner, Ahmed Kantari, made an absolutely horrible decision to play a square ball across the top of the box for Williams, with Piatti in the vicinity. When you play such an ill-advised pass, you’re asking for bad things to happen.

Kantari was yanked at halftime by Reds’ coach Greg Vanney. It came 45 minutes too late.

Not since a rainy night in Giants Stadium, when TFC needed a win over the lowly New York Red Bulls to earn a playoff spot and failed so spectacularly, have the Reds kicked a do-or-die game away with such aplomb.

But, for those of us who want to see Canadian soccer players succeed, Bernier’s wonderful night will be the talking point —not the same old, same old refrain from Toronto FC. What the veteran showed us is that he still has plenty to offer his club and his city — that he can go into the middle of the park against Michael Bradley and win that battle. Bernier was dynamic, vibrant and a catalyst for his team. If anyone was watching the Impact for the first time, that person wouldn’t believe you if you told them that Bernier was pretty well a team afterthought in the summer.

At 75 minutes, Bernier was replaced by another Canadian who many have left for dead, Kyle Bekker. When Friday morning comes, that pair will be preparing for the next round of the playoffs. I know Patrice Bernier is too classy a man to say “I told you so.” But many of his fans won’t be shy to say those words.

 

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