The Impact de Montreal celebrate after defeating Toronto FC to win the Amway Canadian Championship on June 10, 2014, at the Stade Saputo. (Photo courtesy of the Impact de Montreal)
MONTREAL – A late goal by Felipe lifted the Impact de Montreal to a second consecutive Amway Canadian Championship (ACC) title on Wednesday after a 1-0 win over visiting Toronto FC at Stade Saputo gave it a 2-1 aggregate triumph.
As a result, Montreal qualified for its third CONCACAF Champions League, where it will face the New York Red Bulls and El Salvador’s FAS in Group 3 of the 2014/15 edition.
“I think you have to seize the moment,” said head coach Frank Klopas. “We talked about it in preseason and this was one of our goals. It was a big game and I give all the credit to my team because we fought for 90 minutes. It means a lot to get a clean sheet against a very talented team. I am very proud of the team, and that`s not only for the team, but this is for Montreal. I`m excited to be part of it.”
A 0-0 tie would have been good enough to see the Impact advance, but Felipe pounced on a rebound from a Marco Di Vaio shot that ricocheted off the crossbar in the first minute of second-half stoppage time.
“My role is to play,” said Felipe, a midfielder. “It doesn’t matter where they put me, I am here to play. I want to thank the coach because he has helped me a lot and given me a lot of confidence. We are together a great group and we have to continue to do the job we did today.”
Though Toronto enjoyed a majority of the first-half possession, the host’s defense did well to limit scoring opportunities, helping to preserve Evan Bush’s third career clean sheet in ACC play.
Building from the back, the bleu-blanc-noir was able to gain the upper hand after the break
“Especially after our last home game, we wanted to be first on the ball,” explained captain Patrice Bernier. “We didn`t want to be content with a 0-0 game. We pushed through and created a lot of opportunities today. So yes, it was part of our plan to win, to protect our title as champions, and it meant even more to us to do it at home.”
Midfielder Justin Mapp was named MVP of the tournament for a second straight year.
Montreal’s first CCL appearance came in the inaugural 2008/09 competition, where it made a memorable run to the quarterfinals, before falling to Mexico’s Santos 5-4 on aggregate. Last year, it was eliminated on goal difference after all three teams in Group 5 finished in a tie for first place.