Whitecaps/ Impact game summary
The Whitecaps may not have matched the spectacular season opener of last year, when they edged Toronto FC in a frenetically exciting 4-2 chariot race, but this victory was much more satisfying in how it managed to be complete in all areas of the pitch.
Vancouver opened with an early goal as Alain Rochat played a high pass from the left side of the field inside his own half, which was then flicked on by powerful forward Eric Hassli and touched ahead by Sebastien Le Toux past the defender.
He took a careful touch to the left side of the goal before neatly dispatching a low shot under the dive of Impact ‘keeper Donovan Ricketts in the fourth minute.
Montreal had a couple of half chances but never troubled Whitecaps goalie Joe Cannon for the rest of the half.
Vancouver then played stout defence for the rest of the match, with all four of the back line looking imposing.
At the 54th minute mark of the second half Vancouver tallied again as some neat interplay between Swiss Davide Chiumiento, Frenchman Eric Hassli (with a clever dummy), and Camilo saw the diminutive Brazilian cut through the heart of the Montreal defence to curl a shot to the left pass Ricketts.
The best Montreal efforts came after with a hard shot on the turn by Gambian Sanna Nyassi flying too high over the bar, and a long range drive by Davy Arnaud tipped over by Cannon.
However, on this day Vancouver was much the better outfit.
Coach Martin Rennie got his tactics absolutely spot on against Montreal, electing to go with an attacking line-up to take advantage of the nascent Montreal defence, which struggled to handle the neat movement of the Vancouver forwards.
Joe Cannon had a fairly uneventful game but stayed alert to any Montreal incursion, coming out early and quickly to pick out any through balls that made it past the defenders.
His best save came off Montreal captain Arnaud’s long dipping shot.
The back line keyed this win with their strong positional play and strength in the tackle. YP Lee managed to clear one shot off the line with his head while hugging the post.
All four played the ball well moving forward, and the first goal was set in motion by Rochat’s deep pass from his own half.
Gershon Koffie, Jun Marques Davidson, Chiumiento and Camilo were solid for the most part, moving the ball quickly and efficiently forwards, though Chiumiento should count himself lucky that he wasn’t caught out and punished a couple of times attempting to play the ball with too many tricky touches.
He needs to understand that the easy pass is usually best, and those fancy moves are risky near his own half.
Hassli and Le Toux were fantastic in this game. Hassli’s strength holding off the Montreal defenders and his deftness of touch made loads of space for his teammates. Le Toux’s work rate and his understanding of how to move into space made him a danger all afternoon.
Man of the Match
There were many strong players to choose from on this day, but Jay DeMerit stood out as the spearhead of the defence with his imperious tackling and physical presence.
Play of the Game
The opening goal by Le Toux was nice to watch and put Montreal into an early hole they could not recover from, setting the Whitecaps season off to a great start before a sold out crowd of 21,000 supporters.
Video courtesy Whitecaps FC