Impact 2 Cavalry 1
MONTREAL — Ignacio Piatti scored twice as the Montreal Impact narrowly defeated 10-man Cavalry FC 2-1 in the first leg of the Canadian Championship semifinal on Wednesday.
Sergio Camargo scored a crucial away goal for Calgary’s Cavalry FC in the second half, breathing new life into the tournament for the Canadian Premier League spring champions. Goalkeeper Marco Carducci made seven saves.
The second leg will be played Aug. 14 at the 6,000-seat Spruce Meadows in Calgary.
Coming off a 6-3 loss versus the lowly Colorado Rapids in MLS, Impact coach Remi Garde was determined to give the 12,665 fans at Saputo Stadium something to cheer about by starting regulars Piatti, Maxi Urruti and Lassi Lappalainen.
A bad giveaway by Cavalry led to the game’s opening goal in the 32nd minute as Urruti poked the ball away from a nonchalant Julian Buscher right into Piatti’s path. The Argentine weaved around defender Mason Trafford and fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net.
Montreal doubled its lead in the 49th minute when a low cross from defender Bacary Sagna evaded three Cavalry players to find Piatti alone at the far post.
With the brace, Piatti became Montreal’s all-time leading scorer in the Canadian Championship with five goals, surpassing previous record holder Jack McInerney.
Despite playing with 10 days of rest, Cavalry could hardly compete with the Impact until their goal against the run of play. Montreal outshot the visitors 9-1.
On a complete defensive breakdown for Montreal, Camargo found himself all alone in the box and pulled a goal back in the 69th minute. Impact goalkeeper James Pantemis had no chance on the play.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men two minutes later when captain Nikolas Ledgerwood was shown a second yellow card for a tackle on Samuel Piette, who was back in the lineup after missing four games with an intercostal injury.
The Impact improved to 8-0-5 all-time at home in the Canadian Championship.
Montreal punched its ticket to the semifinal by defeating CPL club York9 FC 3-2 on aggregate in the quarterfinal. Cavalry became the first CPL team to defeat an MLS squad when they eliminated the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 on aggregate.
The winner meets either the Ottawa Fury or Toronto FC in the final next month.
It was a busy day for the Impact, who made three moves at the MLS summer trade deadline day.
Montreal acquired former Barcelona attacking midfielder Bojan Krkic, homegrown player Ballou Tabla on loan from Barcelona and defender Jorge Corrales from the Chicago Fire.