VANCOUVER, BC – A failure to effectively defend a set piece once again haunted Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday, as Hassoun Camara was allowed to head home unmarked in the 84th minute to secure Montreal Impact the Voyageurs Cup.
In his press conference immediately following the 2-2 result, which ensured a Montreal championship on away goals, Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie expressed his belief that there was a block on the play which ensured Camara being so open.
Goalkeeper Brad Knighton (above) backed his coach up, stating that Andy O’Brien was interfered with by an Impact player on the tie deciding goal.
“I think Andy got picked,” Knighton told reporters following the match. “Camara is going to make that 99 percent of the time – it’s unfortunate, because without the block, Andy had 20 seconds before that, sprinting 40 yards and sliding in and knocking it out for a corner – it was fantastic.
“I just talked to him [in the locker room] and he was saying, ‘That’s the highs and lows of football.’ But it’s not all on him.”
During the match, the Whitecaps twice found themselves up by a goal, but couldn’t hold things together at the back -- a capitulation of a similar nature to their 2-2 draw with Portland Timbers in their last MLS match, when they twice blew a lead.
“We created 15, 20 chances and they created four or five and scored two goals,” Knighton said. “That’s not good enough. We need to take a whole lot of look at ourselves. This is a cup final, it’s a one-off and we’ve got to find a way to win these games, not tie, not give up two goals at home – there’s a lot of reflection going on right now.
“There was not much said [in the locker room], because I think everyone’s at a loss for words to be honest.”
The final result means Vancouver have failed to win the Voyageurs Cup from a dozen attempts after many similarly agonizing defeats and near misses in recent years. When asked if he felt it just wasn’t meant to be, Rennie wasn’t in a mood to disagree.
“It’s not the first hard-luck story that the club’s had in this competition,” Rennie said. “That’s why it means so much to us because we know the agonies that the fans have been through for many, many years.
“Most of us haven’t been through all of that but we’re very well aware of it. We wanted to put that right tonight and it did seem like we didn’t almost everything right but it didn’t quite drop for us.”