Camara's goal gives Impact Canadian title over Whitecaps

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The Canadian Press
5/30/2013 12:50:51 AM
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VANCOUVER -- Hassoun Camara's mistakes were starting to pile up.

But he made amends for them -- and enabled the Montreal Impact to make history at the same time.

Montreal won the Amway Canadian soccer championship Wednesday night as Camara's goal in the 84th minute gave the Impact a 2-2 tie against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Camara emerged as the hero after he had a goal disallowed and took a yellow card in the first half, and could not stop Daigo Kobayashi's goal that gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead in the 69th minute.

"I had to keep going," said Camara, a 29-year-old French defender. "I knew that I would have a second chance (to score) -- for sure."

Camara tied the game 2-2 as he headed in a Justin Mapp corner kick.

Although the two-game, aggregate goal series was also a 2-2 draw, the Impact claimed the crown because its two away goals served as the tiebreaker. The Major League Soccer rivals played to a 0-0 tie in the first leg in Montreal.

"We are very proud and very happy to have a chance to bring this (Voyageurs Cup) in Montreal," said Camara.

The Impact earned a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League, starting in August, which determines qualifiers for the 2014 Club World Cup. Montreal won the Canadian championship for the first time since playing in a lower-tier circuit in 2008.

Felipe also scored for the Impact, who trailed 1-0 after the first half.

"They never give up," Montreal coach Marco Schallibaum said of his players. "They have a lot of energy, and we know we can always score at any time."

Camilo had the other goal for the Whitecaps, who finished runner-up to Toronto FC in the previous four tournaments.

Camara's decisive goal came moments after Whitecaps defender Andy O'Brien made what briefly appeared to be a game-saving play. He blocked a Marco Di Vaio shot from inside the Vancouver box, setting up the corner kick.

"A lapse in marking and a defending breakdown, that's the way the game goes sometimes," said Vancouver goalkeeper Brad Knighton. "It's just very frustrating."

The Caps were disappointed again after enjoying an 11-4 shots advantage in the first half before taking nine more attempts in the second half for an overall 20-11 edge.

"We managed to give them a chance there, and they finished it away," said Knighton.

"They're pretty lethal in and around the box and they take advantage of their chances when they come. I just think we need to be more clinical at the end."

The Whitecaps entered the game with an unbeaten home record in all competitions. But despite dominating in the first half while enjoying several scoring chances, the hosts could not triumph before a raucous crowd at B.C. Place Stadium.

Camilo got Vancouver's offence going right off the opening kick-off as he raced towards a loose ball in the Montreal box and forced Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush to charge out of his net and make a save.

In the fourth minute, Camilo lofted home a curling free kick from about 35 yards to give the Whitecaps a 1-0 lead, igniting the crowd. The goal came after he was fouled by Alessandro Nesta.

Camilo was in the process of creating another scoring chance as he raced down the left flank in the sixth minute, but he was pulled from behind by Camara, resulting in the Montreal defender's yellow card.

"It was very hard for me to deal with that because I knew that, after the next foul, I could take a red card," said Camara. "It was very hard for me to defend like I usually do, so I had to be smart.

"But I think I did well, and I'm very proud of the job I did today, and the job the team did -- because we deserve (the championship), I think."

Montreal started the second half strong and tied the game 1-1 in the 49th minute as Felipe put in a shot from just outside the Vancouver box, forcing the Whitecaps to press for a win because of the away-goal tiebreaker rule.

Kobayashi, who saw his first action since suffering an ankle injury May 11 against New York, gave the Whitecaps the lead in the 69th minute. He had placed fellow midfielder Gershon Koffie, who was carried off the field on a stretcher after a hard tackle. A team spokesman said he suffered a right quad strain.

Kobayashi booted in a loose ball after he collided with Camara while trying to head in a Nigel Reo-Coker cross. The ball came loose and Kobayashi quickly broke away from the fallen Camara and booted it in.

But Camara, determined to keep his chin up, had the last laugh -- and his mistakes were all but forgotten.

Notes: Scottish striker Kenny Miller returned to the Vancouver lineup after being out since March 30 with a hamstring injury. He played 73 minutes before being replaced by Harvey, who served as a midfielder as Vancouver adjusted its formation. ... Whitecaps defender Brad Rusin sat out with a calf injury suffered in practice Monday. He is expected to miss two weeks. ... Vancouver striker Darren Mattocks played the final eight minutes in place of Camilo. Mattocks rejoined the team temporarily after being with the Jamaican national team in preparation for World Cup qualifiers. He will miss the Whitecaps' next two MLS games, at New York and Seattle.

Montreal Impact Celebrate (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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