Preview: Impact plays in Vancouver for second leg of Canadian Championship finals

VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Montreal Impact takes on the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, this Wednesday night at 10pm EDT (Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2), at BC Place, in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship finals.

The winner of the two legged aggregate goal series will take home the Voyageurs Cup and represent Canada at the 2016/2017 CONCACAF Champions League.

“All the excitement that was created this year with our Champions League run started with our Canadian Championship last year,” explained defender Wandrille Lefèvre. “So to get there again, we have to win the title again this year. With a 2-2 draw in the first game, our goal is clear, we need to go there and win.” 

After the draw in the first leg at Stade Saputo two weeks ago, IMFC needs a victory to advance, or a draw with a 3-3 score or higher. Another 2-2 draw would require extra time.

“Any time you have a chance to play in a final, you’ve got to be excited,” explained Impact head coach Frank Klopas. “Winning the cup last year helped propel our success in the Champions League. You never know when you’d get another opportunity to play for a cup, so we have to take advantage of those chances.”

Vancouver is one of the hottest teams in MLS right now, trailing the LA Galaxy by one point for tops in the league with 45 points from a 14-9-3 record. Despite its great play recently, the Impact has not lost to the ‘Caps in two games this season, with a 2-1 win in MLS action and the 2-2 draw in the first leg on August 12.

In addition, the Canadian rivals from the West Coast have finished as the runners-up for the Canadian title in five of the last six editions of the tournament, including in 2013 when the Bleu-blanc-noir went into BC Place and fought to a 2-2 draw, advancing on away goals as the tie breaker.

“We have to be very careful not to give up an early goal. We have to play well defensively and take advantage of our chances,” added Klopas. “We have to make the right choices and we have the quality to do so.”

Impact midfielder Justin Mapp returned to the pitch in the first leg, after an elbow injury kept him sidelined for half the season, and recorded an assist on Anthony Jackson-Hamel’s tying goal. Mapp has had success in this tournament, being named the Canadian Championship MVP in the last two editions, tallying two goals and four assists in eight games, including seven starts.

“It’s another final playing against another rival,” said Mapp. “Vancouver is a great team and they are very explosive at home. We have to have a better sense of urgency.”

The Impact will travel to Toronto to play its next game on Saturday, August 29, at 4pm at BMO Field (RDS, TSN, TSN Radio 690). The team will play its next home game on Saturday, September 5, at 8pm against the Chicago Fire. Purchase your 5-Game Pack to secure your seat for every remaining home game of the 2015 season, starting at just $85.