The Montreal Impact defeated Cavalry FC on Wednesday night to reach the Canadian Championship final, and a pair of games against heated rivals Toronto FC.
Cavalry nearly shot themselves in the foot in the opening moments of the match as goalkeeper Marco Carducci completely whiffed on a backwards pass from Jay Wheeldon. Luckily, it didn’t end up in the back of the net, but it certainly woke them up a bit.
Montreal opened the scoring in the 13th minute through Anthony Jackson-Hamel, who scored with a header off a corner kick. He won the duel with a Cavalry defender, getting his head to the ball and flicking it toward the bottom right corner.
Marco Carducci got a hand to it, but couldn’t keep the ball out, and Montreal took the 1-0 lead, 3-1 on aggregate.
It looked like Cavalry might score at the end of the first half, as their pressure was relentless, and they very nearly found the back of the net in stoppage time. If not for a dramatic save by Clement Diop, the two sides would’ve been tied going into halftime, and Cavalry might have liked their chances to move onto the next round.
@CPLCavalryFC are BRINGING HEAT to @impactmontreal right now! Will they get one back?! Tune in for the second half on https://t.co/hishXepRT3— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) August 15, 2019
CAV 0 - 1 MTL ⚪️#CAVvsMTL
#CanChampxOneSoccer | https://t.co/hishXepRT3 pic.twitter.com/d4H3IqOLUY
Just after the hour mark, Lassi Lappalainen had a chance to put the tie to bed, but his shot from close range just trickled wide of the net.
Lassi Lappalainen sends one just wide! @impactmontreal holding their own at SPruce Meadows. @CPLCavalryFC in desperate need of a goal to stay in it.— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) August 15, 2019
CAV 0 - 1 MTL ⚪️#CAVvsMTL
#CanChampxOneSoccer | https://t.co/hishXepRT3 pic.twitter.com/bqKCz4hTO1
Cavalry kept throwing themselves at Montreal, but the Impact stood strong, preventing the hosts from finding the back of the net. Cavalry threw all 11 players up the pitch in the final moments, and in the 92nd minute were nearly rewarded.
Left alone at the left post, Jay Wheeldon got on the end of a pass before firing a shot at Montreal goalkeeper Clement Diop, who made an incredible save to preserve his clean sheet, and a hard-earned 3-1 victory on aggregate.
Despite the loss, Cavalry should be incredibly proud of their performance. They gave it their all, but ran into a tough Montreal team. Their historic Canadian Championship run, during which they beat Forge FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps, was no fluke. They really showed Canadian soccer fans what the CPL is all about, and perhaps that the gap between the top CPL teams and the Canadian MLS teams might not be as wide as they may have thought.
Here are full highlights of Wednesday’s game:
The final between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact will be played between two legs, on September 18th and 25th. Waking the Red will have all the coverage you need leading up to those games, so stay tuned over the next month or so.