Home MLS Montreal Impact Voyageurs Cup wrap: Fury comes back, Canadians star in Vancouver

Voyageurs Cup wrap: Fury comes back, Canadians star in Vancouver

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The second stage of the Canadian Championship got underway Tuesday, as the three MLS teams got into the fray. The first legs provided plenty of talking points:

OTTAWA 2, TORONTO FC 1

A second-string TFC squad, without any Designated Players in the lineup, took the halftime lead against the Ottawa Fury thanks to a great give-and-go play between Benoit Cheyrou and Jordan Hamilton which saw the Frenchman neatly finish his chance.

But the 1-0 lead was undone by a series of critical mistakes from TFC’s youngsters, as the Reds shot themselves in the feet over and over through the second half.

Ryan Williams converted a penalty kick to tie the game 1-1 after a comedy of errors from the visitors. First, off a corner, Ottawa’s Martin Del Campo was left wide open, and he headed his effort off the far post. Then, TFC defender Mitchell Taintor had a chance to clear the rebound, but made a hash of it and the ball went right back to the Fury. And, as we see so often, the guy who makes  the first mistake makes the second one, too.  Sito Seoane’s shot went off Taintor’s arm for the easy penalty-kick cll.

Seoane could have made it 2-1 after he got behind the TFC’s flat, slow back line — but Reds keeper Clint Irwin, who once patrolled the box for Capital City FC of the Canadian Soccer League, dove to make the stop.

But Seoane would get his goal; and it came after TFC”s Jay Chapman made the bizarre decision to play a lofted ball across his own backline. It didn’t get near a teammate; it fell to Ottawa’s Tucker Hume, who stumbled in the box but was able to nudge the ball to Seoane, whose deflected shot went in.

TFC’s Raheem Edwards got his second yellow in second-half stoppage time.

A healthy attendance of 7,611 was announced, but to think what could have been. A visit y an MLS team is a big deal for a second-division club. But the game at TD Place was clearly the second choice in the city’s sports schedule, going head-to-head against an elimination home game for the Senators. If the Fury had been the prime spot on the capital city’s sports schedule, TD Place could have seen a crowd of 9,000-plus like it had for the 2015 NASL playoffs, or when the Whitecaps played the Fury in the 2016 Voyageurs Cup.

This marked the second time in three Voyageurs Cup match weeks that the tournament has gone head-to-head with the NHL playoffs, as FC Edmonton’s first-round home leg against the Fury went up against the Oilers playing a Game 7.

Not enough can be said about the sheer lunacy of scheduling this tournament against the NHL playoffs. It’s like a broken record. While the coincidences can be blamed on scheduling bad luck, the fact is the Voyageurs Cup always runs the risk of having these conflicts by playing games in the spring. Hopefully, when this tournament is overhauled in the years to come, this brutal scheduling issue can be resolved.

VANCOUVER 2, MONTREAL 1

While TFC’s young Canadians struggled mightily, the first leg between Montreal and Vancouver at BC Place was a showcase of what our country’s kids can do.

Alphonso Davies, the Edmonton-raised phenom who is still waiting for his family to get their passports, dominated the first half, scoring in the 12th minute off a low pass to the centre of the box from Brek Shea, then dashing through a series of defenders before leaving the ball for Nicolas Mezquida to drive home.

Ben McKendry had a chance to score as well, but Montreal keeper Maxime Crepeau made a good leaping stop.

But, it was as if the teams changed jerseys in the second half. The Impact, sluggish in the first half, brought the game to the Whitecaps and got a vital road goal heading into the second leg. Frankly, the Impact should have had more than that single road marker.

The Impact scored thanks to a solid Canadian combination, with sub Anthony Jackson-Hamel with a neat little touch off the head to knock the ball into the path of David Choiniere, who made no mistake.

Jackson-Hamel should have leveled it; he had Whitecaps keeper Spencer Richey at his mercy after Chris Duvall’s long-range effort struck the post. But Jackson-Hamel’s half-volley was off-target.

Then, in shades of the classic 2014 series between Montreal and FC Edmonton, referee Drew Fischer awarded the Impact a penalty. In 2014, it was in stoppage time, and Patrice Bernier went to the spot, converted, and turned what looked like it was going to be an Eddies upset into a Montreal win. This time, Bernier stepped up again, took his patented stutter step (just like 2014) and tried to pull the shot inside the post. But, Richey guessed correctly (or maybe he saw the tape from 2014) and made the stop.

 

 

 

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