Impact 4 Whitecaps 2
MONTREAL — Ignacio Piatti scored twice from the penalty spot and Blerim Dzemaili got his first goal as the Montreal Impact defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-2 to win their Canadian Championship semifinal on Tuesday night.
Anthony Jackson-Hamel also scored for Montreal, which won the two-game aggregate goals series 5-4 after losing the first leg 2-1 in Vancouver last week. Montreal advanced to next month’s final against the winner between Toronto FC and the Ottawa Fury, who complete their semifinal on Wednesday night.
Alphonso Davies, who scored in the first leg, and Kyle Greig scored for the Whitecaps.
Vancouver, playing a fourth game in 11 days, dressed mostly reserve players against a rested Montreal side that boosted its lineup with some top players, including Piatti and Dzemaili.
Nicolas Mezquida had a chance for the Whitecaps in the opening minute but put a close range shot over the bar.
The Impact answered with three goals before the intermission.
Dzemaili sent Jackson-Hamel through and the striker was taken down while trying to go around goalkeeper Spencer Richey in the 20th minute. Piatti scored from the spot with a low shot to the left side.
Eight minutes later, Piatti made good with a shot to the right side on a penalty after he was fouled.
Dzemaili jumped on a loose ball in the 38th after Ambroise Oyongo went across into the box and thumped in his first goal since joining the Impact from Italian club Bologna three weeks ago.
Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson sent in Davies to start the second half and it paid off when the 16-year-old phenom fought off veteran Patrice Bernier in the Montreal area, spun around and drilled a low shot past Maxime Crepeau in the 59th minute.
But only two minutes later, Bernier got the better of two defenders to flip a pass that Jake Nerwinski couldn’t quite head away. It fell to Jackson for a shot just under the bar.
Richey made the save of the game when Dominic Oduro set up Jackson-Hamel alone in front and a moment later, the Whitecaps closed the gap in the series to one in the 77th when Greig got his head on a loft into the box from substitute Cristian Techera.
Unless Toronto wins the Voyageurs Cup, the winner will face TFC in a one-game playoff on Aug. 9 to determine Canada’s entry in the 2918 CONCACAF Champions League. The playoff was needed because rules were changed to put Canada directly into Phase 2 of the champions league next March so TFC, which won last year, did not get a chance to compete in the 2017-18 competition.
The Whitecaps began this season in CONCACAF play, beating the New York Red Bulls in a quarter-final before falling to Tigres of Mexico.
Vancouver had four changes from the first leg lineup, adding Brek Shea, Jake Nerwinski, Tim Parker and Kyle Greig.
Both teams are back to league action on Saturday, with Montreal playing host to the Red Bulls and Vancouver receiving Atlanta.