David Testo's stake-through-the-heart strike on Wednesday night at Swangard Stadium evened up the score.
Not in the sense that it tied the game -- his perfectly placed 66th-minute goal made it 2-0 for the Montreal Impact over the Vancouver Whitecaps -- but that it dealt the Whitecaps and their fans a crushing blow similar to the one Eddy Sebrango served up Montreal in the 2006 USL-1 semifinal.
Testo, like Sebrango, was facing his former team Wednesday -- traded away along with Joey Gjertsen last July for Alen Marcina and Ze Roberto, two players who are no longer with the Whitecaps.
His tally came completely against the run of play, it came out of nowhere and it left the Whitecaps with only a nanoparticle of hope in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, the four-game series also involving MLS side Toronto FC that will determine Canada's entry into the CONCACAF Champions League.
Vancouver, which fell 2-0 at Montreal on June 17, is now 0-2-0 in the mini-tournament with tougher games to follow against Toronto on July 1 and 9. Montreal is now 2-1-0 and Toronto 1-0-0.
The Whitecaps could ill afford a misstep in the rematch with Montreal, which is perhaps why they looked tentative off the start. That and the fact that they had allowed the first goal in three straight home games.
Impact forward Roberto Brown made that four straight in minute 30 when he converted an easy rebound off Testo's hard shot that Jay Nolly stopped. Sloppy passing early caught up to the Caps and led to the goal, a routine play in their own end resulting in a turnover and free kick to the visitors. Brown's conversion came after a subsequent corner.
The energy picked up from there and three yellow cards -- two to Montreal -- followed in quick succession. Vancouver's chances picked up, too, but while their build up and delivery had more purpose their finish lacked a killer instinct.
© The Vancouver Province 2008