Whitecaps dump Impact in Canadian championship - CBC

The Vancouver Whitecaps wasted little time enforcing their will over the Montreal Impact. The Whitecaps used a pair of first-half goals to dispose of the Impact 2-0 on Wednesday night at Montreal's Saputo Stadium, taking the third round-robin game of the Canadian club championship. Marcus Haber and Charles Gbeke supplied all the offence Vancouver needed. Toronto FC (2-0-0) still leads the standings with six points, three ahead of the Whitecaps (1-1-0). Canadian 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 Vancouver Whitecaps, who compete in the USL First Division (one level below MLS). The competition 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. Montreal remains winless in two games. The winner of the six-match tournament will be Canada's only representative in the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League, which begins July 28. The Whitecaps, coming off a disappointing 2-1 defeat to the Rochester Rhinos in USL First Division action on Saturday, struck swiftly in front of crowd of 11,483. Haber opened the scoring in the first minute of the game, receiving a pass from midfielder Gordon Chin and drilling a shot from inside the penalty area behind Montreal goalkeeper Matt Jordan. Vancouver then took a 2-0 advantage in the 17th minute. Battling two Montreal defenders, Gbeke timed a perfect cross from defender Takashi Hirano with a header over Jordan. "Two tactical defensive errors in the first 20 minutes of the game cost us the win, but the players had an excellent attitude as they tried to come back," Impact head coach Marc Dos Santos said. The Montreal goalie did make a great diving save off Whitecaps midfielder Dever Orgill in the final 10 minutes of the second half. The Impact outshot the Whitecaps 18-6 but failed to get one past Vancouver goaltender Jay Nolly. "I thought we played an extremely good game," Whitecaps coach Teitur Thordarson said. "In the first half, we were excellent, and deserved the two goals that we scored. In fact, we should have scored more goals before halftime." Impact midfielder David Testo was forced to skip Wednesday's game due to an automatic one-game suspension for the red card he got during last week's contest against Toronto. Montreal defender Cédric Joqueviel (right thigh) also missed the contest because of an injury. "Except for the two goals early on, we completely dominated the game," Impact defender Adam Braz said. "It's always tougher to pull through when you concede two goals at the start of the game. It's not always easy to create chances against a good team like Vancouver." The Canadian club championship continues next Wednesday, featuring a return match between Montreal and the Whitecaps in Vancouver. After coming within minutes of making it to the semifinal of the CONCACAF Champions League last season, the Impact haven't been able to build off that success. Montreal ended a six-game winless skid Sunday with a 4-0 victory over Austin Aztex, but only has one win in the USL this season. The Impact fired head coach John Limniatis following the club's 1-0 loss to Toronto FC last week and replaced him with Dos Santos. "It isn't over for us," Dos Santos said. "We keep our hopes up, and we will fight until the end. It's still possible, so we have to believe in it." With files from The Canadian Press