MLS

Impact, Whitecaps both looking to capture Voyageurs Cup

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The Canadian Press
5/27/2013 5:33:35 PM
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MONTREAL -- Coach Marco Schallibaum says cups are important.

And he wants his Montreal Impact players to consider that when they face the Vancouver Whitecaps in a winner-take-all match for the Voyageurs Cup.

"It's not the (league) championship, but the cup is always interesting," Schallibaum said Monday. "I use as an example 25 years ago when I won a cup.

"I have always remembered it. It was very emotional, and we want to feel that emotion after the game."

It was actually 30 years ago, in 1983, that Schallibaum won the Swiss Cup with Grasshoppers Zurich.

Now, the Voyageurs Cup is up for grabs if the Impact can win, or at least score a goal in a tie, in the second leg of the Amway Canadian Champion final on Wednesday night in Vancouver.

The teams played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg on May 15 at Saputo Stadium. Montreal can win the two-game, total-goals series by scoring an away goal, as long as they don't lose the game.

"It's important that we do everything not to have any regrets after the game," added Schallibaum, a former star fullback in Switzerland who went into coaching when his playing days were done.

The 51-year-old brought winning with him when he took over the Impact this season. The club was bounced from the first round by Toronto FC last year under former coach Jesse Marsch.

Montreal started the year with a victory in the pre-season Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, Fla., and are battling for top spot in Major League Soccer with a 7-2-2 record.

They are coming off a rousing 5-3 win at home over Philadelphia on Saturday night, paced by a hat trick from striker Marco Di Vaio and the first goals of the season from Andrew Wenger and rookie Blake Smith.

Now their attention turns to Cup play, where both sides feel they have an edge.

The Whitecaps have home field advantage, but Wenger said it is Vancouver that should be feeling the heat.

"I think people forget that they need a goal just as much as we do," said Wenger. "And if we score a goal, they're in a lot of trouble.

"So there's more pressure on them than there is on us."

The Whitecaps defence tied Montreal in knots in the first leg and they had some chances to steal an away goal, including one headed for the net that was swept off the line by Impact midfielder Justin Mapp.

More open space is expected in the second leg, with both sides looking for goals.

And, with the Cup on the line, both should have most of their top players in the lineup.

"They had guys in different spots last game and it kind of threw a curveball at us," said goalkeeper Even Bush. "But they'll come out and try to attack and, playing at home, they're going to go for the win right away.

"We're going to have to deal with that, but it will open up space for us as well."

Troy Perkins has played every MLS match for Montreal this season, but backup Bush has played the Cup games.

In the opening round against TFC, the Impact lost the first leg 2-0 in Toronto but responded with a 6-0 win in the second leg to take the series 6-2 on aggregate.

It ended Toronto's four-year run as Voyageurs Cup champion. Montreal took it seven years in a row before that, while Vancouver has never won the Cup.

The winner also gets Canada's lone berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Perhaps the Impact's greatest high in their 20-year history came in Champions League play in 2009, when they drew 55,571 fans to Olympic Stadium for a 2-0 win over Mexico's Santos Laguna in the first leg of the quarter-finals.

But their deepest low was in the return leg, when they scored twice more, only to collapse in the second half and lose 5-4 on aggregate.

Now they're gunning for another shot at international play.

"If we could go out there and win a Cup to bring back to our fans here, that would be something we would cherish a long time," said Bush.

The first leg was marked by a collision of heads between Vancouver's Jordan Harvey and Montreal's Jeb Brovsky that left the Impact defender with his nose broken in six places. Brovsky, a former Whitecap, needed plastic surgery on his face, but was back in the lineup on Saturday and is expected to play.

Fullback Hassoun Camara will return after missing Saturday's game with a sore thigh.

Forward Daniele Paponi and midfielder Andrea Pisanu, both on the mend from thigh injuries, worked out on the sidelines Monday but won't be available. Captain Davy Arnaud is out with a concussion.

Reo-Coker and Romero battle (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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