MONTREAL, QUE – Play to win.
That’s how Vancouver Whitecaps FC (3W-4L-1D) said they were going to approach matches away from home this season – and that’s exactly what they did on Saturday afternoon in a 2-1 comeback victory over Canadian rival Montreal Impact (1W-3L-4D) at Stade Saputo.
Andrew Jacobson led the way with a goal and an assist and Cristian Techera scored the game-winner in the 79th minute as the ‘Caps claimed their first road win of 2017
For the first time this year, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson fielded the same starting XI as in a previous match on Saturday – in back-to-back outings, no less.
Prior to that, he had used 11 different lineups in 11 matches to start 2017.
But after going toe-to-toe with the Timbers a week ago in Portland, Robinson once again with a 4-1-4-1 setup featuring a midfield trio of Matias Laba behind Jacobson and Tony Tchani.
And it had the desired effect for most of the first half – despite conceding early.
Montreal opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Marco Donadel, who found the bottom left corner with a bouncer from distance. Substitute Anthony Jackson-Hamel, who replaced an injured Matteo Mancosu just minutes prior, attempted to deflect the strike in the box and that appeared to delay the reaction of Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted just enough.At any rate, it was 1-0 Impact.
From there, however, it was all Vancouver. The ‘Caps looked in complete control for the remainder of the half, finding all sorts of joy through Techera and Sheanon Williams down the right flank. And they eventually levelled the score in the 29th minute.
After a Christian Bolaños free kick was headed away, the ball fell to Jacobson at the top of the box and the midfielder made no mistake, placing a perfectly-hit volley into the top right corner.
The Impact manufactured a little bit of a pushback in the second half, coming close on a pair of crosses to teenager Ballou Tabla at the back post. But Ousted saved the first and Tabla missed the target on the second – and the ‘Caps made them pay.
In the 79th minute, Jacobson released Techera into the box with a left-footed throughball. “The Bug” then cut into the middle past a sliding Laurent Ciman before calmly finishing with his left foot to give Vancouver their first lead of the game.
Montreal put on the pressure in the dying stages but Ousted and the ‘Caps held firm to come away with the victory – a much-deserved one, at that.