BY RANDY PHILLIPS
MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact allowed things to be more nerve-racking than they had to be and paid for it.
Toronto FC needed to score four more goals than the Impact to win Nutrilite Canadian Championship to advance to the coming CONCACAF Champions League tournament, and the Reds did precisely that in a resounding 6-1 victory in a steady drizzle before a paid attendance of 11,561 at Saputo Stadium Thursday night.
With the four goals necessary to win on goals differential, TFC from Major League Soccer edged out the United Soccer Leagues First Division Vancouver Whitecaps for top spot in the championship. The Whitecaps, who face the Impact in USL action on Saturday, were in attendance Thursday night, fully expecting to be the recipient of the Voyageurs Cup as champion of the three team round-robin series.
Forward Dwayne De Rosario, a member of Canada’s national team from Scarborough, Ont., exploited Montreal’s injury-riddled defence scoring Toronto’s first three goals after midfielder Tony Donatelli gave the Impact a 1-0 lead on penalty kick in the 24th minute.
The Impact, with backup Srdjan Djekanovic playing in place of No. 1 goalkeeper Matt Jordan, gave up four goals in the second half — shades of a meltdown similar to the one team suffered when it gave up four goals in the second half of a 5-2 loss to Santos Laguna in Torreon, Mexico, in the return leg of the Champions League quarter-final March 5. That result saw the Impact loss the quarter-final 5-4 on aggregate.
The Impact failed to win a game in the Canadian championship this season after beating out Toronto last year.
Midfielder Amado Guevara scored twice for TFC and substitute Chad Barrett added another.
Referee Carol Anne Chenard awarded the Impact a penalty kick after TFC defender Nick Garcia hauled down striker Peter Byers deep inside the box as he attempted to track down a loose ball.
De Rosario took advantage of a poor clearing attempt by Djekanovic, scoring in the 29th. The goal came unassisted after Djekanovic failed to deflect the ball from harm’s way and De Rosario scored with a bicycle kick from about 12 yards out.
De Rosario’s second goal of the game, the winner, came in the 39th minute.
TFC now faces the USL’s Puerto Rico Islanders to determine who will join the Columbus Crew of MLS and Costa Rica’s Saprissa and the winner between Cruz Azul of Mexico and Herediano, also of Costa Rica, in Group C of the 16 teams advancing to the group stage of this year’s tournament.
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