Montréal, Canada — As Stade Saputo opened its door’s for the first time since March, the occasion was met with a spectacle far from worthy of that title. Two sides trotted onto the field on Tuesday night with similar intentions: balance out their team’s ship.
Marc Dos Santos put out a questionable 5-3-2, including Cristian Dajome at RWB, David Milinković joining Lucas Cavallini up front and a first career MLS appearance for Michael Baldisimo. Thierry Henry matched Vancouver, going for a similar 3-4-3, with the injured Borjan Krkic watching from the sidelines.
Mustering only two shots on goal in as many games, Vancouver needed to come out on the front foot from the get go. However, they simply did not. It didn’t take Montreal long to break the Whitecap’s bending defense, with Romell Quioto burying a sweet and tasteful cross from Taider.
Six Vancouver Whitecaps defenders were left in the dust from the leaping Honduran. Things didn’t get much better for the west coast team, as Lassi Lappalainen converted off of a beautiful ball from Emanuel Maciel. A calm, composed finish from a calm and composed Finland native.
Les faits saillants de notre victoire!
— Impact de Montréal (@impactmontreal) August 26, 2020
Revamped start to the second half
Having gone 3.5 games without scoring at this point, Dos Santos reverted to old reliable and switched to a 4-3-3. Leonard Owusu and Jake Nerwinski were brought on, and almost found the scoresheet immediately.
After an impressive sequence from Vancouver, Owusu skied the ball well over Clément Diop’s net from close range. Minutes later, Derek Cornelius was taken down in the box. Vancouver had a golden chance to erase that goose egg on the score sheet.
That chance went begging. Cavallini missed his second penalty of the year as he is still looking to open his account for his new club. It was a poorly placed and taken spot kick, allowing Diop to comfortably steer the penalty aside. The penalty wrapped up Vancouver’s spell of promise, and were on the back foot for the rest of the game.
For just the second time this season, Vancouver had the majority of the possession. However, you can only do so much passing around in your own half. This lead Dos Santos to say they hope the 4-3-3 is the formation moving forward, given a lack of creative midfield options.
It’s been difficult this year for Vancouver. Meanwhile, the Impact are at the other end of the spectrum.
What’s next for Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact?
With these three points, the Impact are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and hold a game in hand. Meanwhile, Toronto FC is next up for Montreal, with a difficult back to back match up against the reigning MLS Cup finalists.
Tuesday was a step in the right direction for Montreal, but it wasn’t everything they hoped it would be. A comfortable win. However, it wasn’t a masterclass. They will be put to the test this Friday as they hit the road to Toronto.