Late goal sees Montreal beat Toronto and advance in Amway Canadian Championship

By Neil Davidson


TORONTO _ An 84th-minute goal by Dominic Oduro was enough to secure the Montreal Impact’s passage to the Amway Canadian Championship final in a rollercoaster game Wednesday.

Toronto FC won 3-2 on the night but the aggregate was tied 3-3, thanks to a 1-0 win in the semifinal first leg in Montreal last week, so the Impact advanced on the away goals rule. For Montreal, it means another step down a path that led them to the CONCACAF Champions League final.

The dagger in the heart came when Oduro, a former Toronto player, beat Damien Perquis to head in an Eric Miller cross.

Up until then it had looked like two goals in three minutes would lift Toronto past the Impact, with designated players Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco running the show.

Goals by Benoit Cheyrou and Giovinco in the 56th and 58th minutes put Toronto ahead. Altidore, who set up both goals, opened the scoring for the home side.

Kenny Cooper also scored for Montreal, whose first-leg goal came from Jack McInerney.

The Impact will meet the winner of the Vancouver Whitecaps-FC Edmonton semifinal to determine who will represent Canada’s in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League.

Toronto manager Greg Vanney had promised a more aggressive approach after a 2-1 weekend loss to visiting Houston and delivered with a high-powered lineup and attacking formation.

Vanney, who rested all but three regulars in Montreal, rolled out eight of his starters from the weekend. The almost full-strength side featured all three designated players as well as European imports Cheyrou and Perquis.

In contrast, Montreal coach Frank Klopas stuck with just four starters from the Portland game and kept DP Ignacio Piatti on the bench until the 68th minute.

Altidore opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, on a beautiful one-two with Giovinco. Altidore ran towards the penalty box, pointing to where he wanted the ball and the Italian put it there on a dime, allowing the burly American to loop the ball past ‘keeper Eric Kronberg from in-close.

Montreal replied three minutes later on a corner that was flicked over to an unmarked Calum Mallace, whose volley was flicked in by Cooper from in front. The away goal meant Toronto had to score two more to overturn the aggregate deficit.

It was Cooper’s first goal for the Impact but ninth in 11 games against Toronto. The big striker went down soon after scoring and had to leave in the 29th minute, slamming a water bottle to the ground as he got to the bench.

Toronto’s Jonathan Osorio had a glorious chance in the 51st minute but hammered it at Kronberg. But the home side’s strategy was simple: ABG. Give it to Altidore, Bradley or Giovinco.

For the second game in a row, the five-foot-four Italian took a beating from the opposition and was clearly unhappy at the lack of protection from referee Mathieu Bourdeau.

Cheyrou scored for Toronto from close-range, after Altidore controlled a chip from Bradley and sent it over for the Frenchman to skillfully tap it home. The two American stars then set up Giovinco, with Altidore poking a pass to the Italian who sidestepped a lunging Laurent Ciman and curled a shot past Kronberg.

The game drew 21,069 to the newly renovated BMO Field, down from 30,226 at Sunday’s home opener.

That contest was marred by fans abusing a TV reporter, a story that went viral when the reporter confronted those responsible.

On Wednesday, MLSE said it was reaching out to TV assignment desks about plans for live hits at the stadium with security to be allocated accordingly. It also said it had identified four fans and banned them for at least a year.

The game was the third in a week for both teams, with league matches looming Saturday. Toronto (3-5-0) visits New England (5-2-3) while Montreal (0-3-2) hosts Real Salt Lake (3-2-5).

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