Impact, Whitecaps tangle in Montreal - CBCsports.ca

Confidence is running high in the Montreal Impact camp.

Winning will do that for you.

The Impact ended a six-game winless skid Sunday with a 4-0 victory over Austin Aztex, Montreal's first win of the USL First Division season.

The victory came just days after Montreal fired head coach John Limniatis following the club's 1-0 loss to Toronto FC in the Canadian club championship.

Canadian club championship
The Canadian club championship is a three-team round-robin tournament involving Toronto FC (Canada's lone Major League Soccer club), and the Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps, who compete in the USL First Division (one level below MLS).

The competition also serves as the Canadian qualifying tournament for the CONCACAF Champions League.

The Canadian club championship runs through June 18, with each team hosting two games. The top team in the final standings will be Canada's representative at the CONCACAF Champions League, an international club competition that crowns the best pro team in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The CONCACAF Champions League winner then goes on to play at the FIFA World Club Championship in the United Arab Emirates in December 2009 against continental champions from Europe, South America, Asia and Africa. English giants Manchester United won the 2008 FIFA World Club Championship.

The Impact won last year's inaugural Canadian club championship.

But with Marc Dos Santos taking over the coaching reins and a win under the belt, the Impact have a new lease on life and will try to build on their momentum when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps Wednesday night in the third game of the Canadian club championship.

It's a crucial contest for both sides.

Toronto leads the round robin standings with six points after winning the first two games of the tournament. A victory by Montreal or Vancouver Wednesday would give that team a good chance of catching the Major League Soccer club, while a tie would spell big trouble for both sides.

"We are feeling fresh and very confident right now," Montreal defender Nevio Pizzolitto told the Impact's official website.

"The guys are in good spirits. There is a different atmosphere running around the team and it's positive. We needed the win last Sunday. It's still possible for us to do well in the [Canadian] championship even though we lost the first game. We are approaching this game as a final. But we need a victory."

Do Santos stressed that his players have to focus on the task at hand Wednesday, beating Vancouver, and not focus on trying to catch Toronto in the standings.

"We have to go step by step and not think that Toronto has already six points," said the Impact coach. "We have to get three points against Vancouver and then prepare the game against Vancouver next week. Our game against the Whitecaps could be decisive for the remaining of the tournament."

Vancouver is coming off a disappointing 2-1 loss to the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday in a game that saw the Whitecaps outshoot their opponents 23-4.

Despite the loss, coach Teitur Thordarson believes the fact the Whitecaps created so many scoring chances bodes well for his team Wednesday night.

"I think the players are feeling good after playing so well, even if we didn't win that match. That's always a good thing to have mentally before your next game," Thordarson told the Whitecaps official website.

"I don't think the Rochester result will bother us too much, but we can ill-afford those type of games this season. We must do what is necessary for claiming the three points, especially when we perform like we did on Saturday."

Impact midfielder David Testo will miss Wednesday's game due to an automatic one-game suspension after earning a red card in last week's game against Toronto.

Defender Cedric Joqueviel (right thigh) will also be absent due to injury.

The Canadian club championship continues next Wednesday when the Whitecaps host the Impact.