MONTREAL - The Impact moved into contention in the Canadian Champions League with a 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps at Saputo Stadium tonight.
The victory gave the Impact a 1-1 record in the double round-robin involving the Impact, the Whitecaps and Toronto FC. Montreal and Toronto are tied for first place with three points each, but Toronto has a game in hand.
Severino Jefferson and Joey Gjertsen scored first-half goals and goalkeeper Matt Jordan turned in an outstanding performance to earn the shutout.
Jefferson started in place of Charles Gbeke and Gjertsen said he provided the team with a different look.
"Charles likes to hold the ball while Jefferson creates some open space," said Gjertsen. "You saw that on his goal tonight; he was in the right place at the right time."
Gjertsen made it 2-0 in the 35th minute when he made a strong rush up the right side of the field, moved outside the defender and beat goalkeeper Jay Nolly with a low shot to the far post.
"It makes a big difference when you score those early goals," said Gjertsen.
"We weren't doing that earlier in the season."
Matt Jordan was kept busy. He made a big save on a point-blank shot by Alfredo Valente in the 21st minute and had to dive to reach a low shot by Jason Jordan in the 44th minute. He added a save on a shot by Justin Moose in the 66th minute and he was shaken up when he came out to smother a chase by Jason Jordan on a breakaway in the 68th minute.
"In that situation, you want to stand the guy up as much as possible," said Matt Jordan. "I tried to make myself as big as possible and I was able to stop it with my eye and my forehead."
"The goalkeeper played it well," said Jason Jordan. "I was hoping that he would go down a bit and I could lift the shot over his shoulder but he stood up all the way and I couldn't get the shot I wanted."
But Jason Jordan said there was reason for the Whitecaps to be optimistic going into the return match next Wednesday at Swangard Stadium in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.
"I don't think this was a 2-0 game," he said. "We had lots of scoring chances but the goalkeeper played really well."
The only disappointing note on the evening for the Impact was the loss of Gjertsen and defender Cédric Joqueviel.
"I suffered an abdominal strain late in the first half," said Gjertsen, who left the game in the 59th minute. "I tried playing with it but it was getting worse. I still haven't seen the trainers so I don't know how bad it
Joqueviel suffered an ankle injury in the 77th minute and was taken off the field on a stretcher.
For the first time this season, the Impact failed to sell out Saputo Stadium. The announced attendance was 10,054.
© The Gazette 2008