A look back at the Impact’s best semi-final successes
The Impact is set to take on Cavalry FC tonight at 9:30pm EDT at Spruce Meadows, in the second leg of the Canadian Championship semifinals. And there are MANY reasons to get excited for this one, including the fact that the Impact has a 2-1 lead following the first leg at Stade Saputo last week.
There’s always been something magical about this crucial stage of the competition. Knowing that a victory over your opponent propels you to the final stage of the tournament has made for some crazy matchups in the penultimate round of the Canadian Championship, and the Montreal Impact has been a part of a few of those since the domestic tournament adjusted its format in 2011.
Let’s take a look at some of the more memorable ones:
Montreal Impact 6-2 Toronto FC – 2013
The 2013 edition of the tournament isn’t what we know today. Just four teams took part in the tournament, with the Impact taking on its rival, Toronto FC, while the Vancouver Whitecaps FC took on FC Edmonton.
And things didn’t really go well for the Impact in the first leg, at BMO Field. Toronto would open the scoring early in the second half, adding another with a few minutes left. It was a perfect home game for the Reds, especially since they didn’t concede that crucial away goal.
The return game was a way different story. The Impact knew it needed at least two goals to take this into extra time. If it conceded, however, they would need four to make it through.
They could’ve conceded three goals in this game after all, the men in blue winning 6-0 when it was all said and done, their most dominant win over Toronto FC since both teams joined MLS.
Montreal Impact 5-4 FC Edmonton – 2014
This is perhaps the wildest semifinals in the history of this domestic tournament. This time, USL-side Ottawa Fury FC also participated. After FC Edmonton defeated them in the preliminary round, the Impact was next in the semifinals and the Alberta side continued its good form, shocking the MLS side by coming back from behind and winning the opening leg 2-1.
The return leg, in Montreal, started great for the home side, the Impact scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes, and the again at the start of the second half to take a 3-0 lead, 4-2 on aggregate. Edmonton would then shock the Stade Saputo crowd by scoring twice and bring both teams level, although Edmonton had the advantage with two away goals. The Impact, with 20 minutes to go, was on the brink of elimination.
Then, in the 98th minute, solace. A penalty is called. Patrice Bernier steps up to the spot…and buries it! The Impact wins. Pandemonium. A few hundred miles south, in the state of Massachusetts, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Boston Bruins in game 7 of the second round to qualify for the Eastern Conference final. All in all, a pretty good night for Montreal sports fans.
Montreal Impact 3-3 Toronto FC – 2015
What’s the number one rule with home and away matchups? Never underestimate the importance of away goals. It’s a lesson both clubs learned the hard way against each other, the Impact going first, in the 2015 Canadian Championship semifinals. Opening the series at home, it was the Impact’s all-time leading goal scorer in the modern version of the tournament, Jack Mclnerney, who got the game’s sole goal in the 68th minute, giving the Impact a one-goal advantage heading into BMO Field.
Even more importantly, they hadn’t conceded an away goal. Montreal and Toronto would exchange goals in the opening half at BMO Field, but two quick goals from the home side would give the Reds the lead heading into the last half-hour.
But it was a slender lead, the Impact knowing that one goal would be enough to push them through. And they got it, in the 84th minute, from Dominic Oduro.
Montreal Impact 5-4 Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 2017
It was a young Alphonso Davies who opened the scoring in the first leg in 2017, leading his team to a 2-1 victory at BC Place, despite Homegrown player David Choinière scoring his first goal with the club.
But the Impact would rush a 3-0 lead at Stade Saputo in the return leg, and although Davies got one back in the 59th minute, Anthony Jackson-Hamel would put the series to bed by scoring two minutes later.