Patrice Bernier approaches the ball as he attempts what proved to be the series-clinching goal against FC Edmonton in their Amway Canadian Championship semifinal, second leg match on May 14, 2014. (Photo courtesy of the Impact de Montreal)
MONTREAL – Patrice Bernier converted a penalty kick deep into second-half stoppage time to lift the Montreal Impact to a 4-2 win over visiting FC Edmonton on Wednesday in the second leg of their Amway Canadian Championship semifinal series. That goal gave the defending champion a 5-4 aggregate triumph and a place in the final against Toronto FC.
Montreal lost on the road in last week’s opener, 2-1, but it took a 3-0 lead at the Stade Saputo before 50 minutes had passed.
Midfielder Justin Mapp was outstanding throughout the evening, setting up forward Jack McInerney for the game’s first two goals.
In the 10th minute, after a strong run down the right wing to the edge of the box, Mapp delivered a cross towards the middle of the Edmonton box that was nearly diverted by teammate Felipe and found McInerney. The 21-year-old forward collected the ball and calmly swept in a right-footed shot from nine-yards out.
Seven minutes later, Mapp superbly executed a back-heel pass for McInerney to run onto and poke past goalkeeper John Smits from eight yards.
It looked like the Impact would cruise into the final, when Jeb Brovsky made it 3-0 with a header from Hernan Bernardello’s left-sided corner kick just two minutes after the break.
Edmonton actually went ahead in the series on away goals as Frank Jonke netted twice in quickfire fashion. The Canadian forward, who has spent the majority of his career in Finland, struck in the 67th minute from a clever through ball by fellow Canuck Hanson Boakai and added a penalty kick three minutes later.
With the Eddies holding the advantage, the Impact continued to press and was awarded a penalty kick after Mallan Roberts was whistled for a handball. Bernier left Smits rooted to the line, directing his attempt inside the left post to complete Montreal’s series comeback.
VANCOUVER – Despite posting a 2-1 win over visiting Toronto FC in the second leg of their Amway Canadian Championship semifinal on Wednesday at BC Place, the Vancouver Whitecaps were eliminated 5-3 on penalty kicks after the series ended 3-3 on aggregate.
Toronto advanced to its sixth tournament final in seven all-time editions and will meet the Montreal Impact for the title, plus a spot in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League.
Defender Doneil Henry gave the Reds a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute, when Michael Bradley’s long free kick was flicked by Nick Hagglund towards the Vancouver net. Christian Dean attempted to clear the ball, which hit the crossbar and was tapped in by the 21-year-old Canada international at the goal line.
With two minutes left in the first half, Vancouver leveled through Erik Hurtado. The forward raced onto a perfectly chipped pass from Pedro Morales and beat stranded goalkeeper Joe Bendik with a right-footed effort from 12-yards out.
Still needing another goal to force extra time, the host was awarded a penalty kick late in the match after Hurtado was taken down in the box by Henry. Morales stepped up and converted into the bottom left corner, tying the aggregate score at 3-3.
Extra time yielded no goals, forcing the series to be decided on kicks from the spot. Toronto was successful on each of its five penalties, while Vancouver’s Kekuta Manneh saw his kick saved by Joe Bendik.
Toronto will host Montreal in the opener of the two-legged final on May 28 at BMO Field with the series concluding on June 4 at the Stade Saputo.
Liga de Campeones