Rivalry renewed: A look back on the controversy-riddled history between Vancouver and Montreal
VANCOUVER, BC – They may have only met in Major League Soccer once before, but the rivalry between Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Montreal Impact stretches back nearly two decades.
When Vancouver and Montreal meet Saturday morning at Stade Saputo, it will be the 59th all-time meeting between the two clubs.
Kickoff for Saturday's match between Montreal Impact and Whitecaps FC is set for 11 a.m. PT and is live on TSN and Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to Saturday’s match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 9 a.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match.
Montreal holds the edge with a 29W-17L-12D record and are the reigning Amway Canadian Championship (ACC) victors – they defeated Whitecaps FC on aggregate earlier this year. In spite of this, the ‘Caps are unbeaten in eight straight matches against the Impact in ACC play and won the only previous MLS meeting between the two teams last season.
Over the years, the two sides have developed a healthy dislike for one another – to put it lightly. They have been playing against each other since 1993 and the bitter rivalry came to the forefront during the 2009 Canadian Championship.
Going into the final match of the tournament, which only included three teams at the time, Toronto FC needed to beat the already-eliminated Impact by at least four goals to win the championship. Otherwise, the ‘Caps would capture their first-ever Canadian title.
2009 ACC Final: Montreal Impact 1-6 Toronto FC
It seemed like an impossible task for the Reds, but it was made possible after Montreal sat most of their usual starters and fielded what appeared more like a reserve squad. In the end, Toronto cruised to a 6-1 victory to win the championship.
Later that year, the ‘Caps had revenge in their sights when they met Montreal in the two-leg United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) Championship Final. Unfortunately for the Blue and White, they were left heartbroken again after the Impact won 6-3 on aggregate to win the title.
Vancouver received red cards in both matches. To make things worse, former ‘Caps striker Eduardo Sebrango scored the winner for Montreal in the first leg of the final.
It wasn’t Vancouver and Montreal’s first duel in the USL-1 playoffs, however. They also met in the 2006 and 2008 semifinals – Vancouver won both series en route to their final two league championships before joining MLS.
Much of the animosity between Vancouver and Montreal’s soccer franchises stems from their encounters in USL-1, but it actually began in the Canadian Soccer League (CSL) between 1987 and 1992 and in the North American Soccer League (NASL) even before that.
The rivalry lives on this Saturday at Stade Saputo.