BY MARC WEBER
MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact are USL-1 champions for the first time since 2004 after a 6-3 aggregate win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Montreal beat Vancouver 3-1 in front of 13,000 fans at Saputo Stadium on Saturday, a week after their 3-2 first-leg win at Swangard Stadium.
For the Whitecaps — who were defending champions — it was their third finals appearance in four seasons.
It was a game not without controversy, as Whitecaps defender Shaun Pejic was sent off 29 minutes in for his tackle on Impact forward Roberto Brown in the penalty area.
Former Caps midfielder Tony Donatelli buried the penalty kick and Vancouver sagged emotionally, giving up quick strikes to Joey Gjertsen and Roberto Brown.
Whitecaps winger Ansu Toure headed in a goal just before halftime but it was little consolation.
It was a season of resilience for seventh-place Vancouver, who overcame midseason mediocrity and in-fighting to put together an impressive playoff run that featured wins over No. 2 Carolina and No. 1 Portland.
Montreal, though, had their number. Three wins in as many regular season games and a dominant playoff performance.
The Impact were a perfect 6-0-0 in the playoffs.
Vancouver played Saturday without captain Martin Nash, who was suspended for his red card tackle in the Oct. 10 defeat.
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