MONTREAL â€” The Vancouver Whitecaps were due for a road win and it came at the expense of their struggling Canadian rivals the Montreal Impact.
Even though the Impact scored the first goal of a game for only the second time in eight outings, Andrew Jaconson tied it with a subtle volley and Cristian Techera got the game-winner in the 80th minute as Vancouver topped Montreal 2-1 on Saturday afternoon.
The Whitecaps’ first away win in four attempts this season came at a key time with the 3-4-1 club playing the second game in a stretch of four straight on the road.
“We want to start building our confidence by winning,” said centreback Kendall Waston. “That’s the only way we can be in the playoffs at the end of the year.
“And winning on the road is good. We didn’t want to fly so long to go back home with no points.”
Midfielder Marco Donadel scored for Montreal (1-3-4), which has been done in by spotty defensive play since the start of the season.
“I’m very concerned,” said coach Mauro Biello, whose team lost both starting striker Matteo Mancosu (thigh) and his replacement Anthony Jackson-Hamel (cramps) to injuries during the game. “Right now certain things are not working and I find that we still need to do a better job of not giving up easy goals.
“We did create, so there is that positive. Their goalie made some big saves in the second half. But we need to find that consistency in our game that’s not there right now. It’s my job to figure it out and get the team on the right track.”
There was no immediate word on the severity of the injuries.
Vancouver felt good about their game even though they lost 2-1 loss in Portland last week. They wanted to keep up that strong play in Montreal. They are now 1-3-0 away from home, but one road loss was in a snowstrom at Salt Lake and another came after goalie David Ousted was shown a red card.
The 19,597 watching at Saputo Stadium on a sunny afternoon saw the Impact strike in the ninth minute after a series of passes just outside the Vancouver box. Patrice Bernier finally playing the ball back to Donadel for a low shot from distance that Jackson-Hamel dummied before it rolled inside the left post.
Vancouver responded with steady pressure and forced a free kick when Kyle Fisher took down Jacobson to the left of the Montreal goal. Cristian Bolanos’s shot was played out to the edge of the area where Jacobson lobbed a perfect volley over the crowd in front and under the crossbar for his first of the season.
“I knew I wouldn’t have time to take it down,” said Jacobson. “I just wanted to get a good connection on it and see what happened, not just hit it as hard as I can.”
Montreal had sustained pressure for most of the second half, but the Whitecaps got the winner when Jacobson played a ball in a wide open area for Techera, who made a deft move to elude the sliding Laurent Ciman and fire a low shot past Evan Bush.
The Impact, who reached the Eastern Conference final last season, are in danger of falling out of the playoff race early if they can don’t find ways to get some wins.
Right back Chris Duvall said the team needs a dose of intensity.
“Eight games played and one win is a little concerning,” he said. “I think we have the right pieces but we need to have the right mentality.
“We need to be more ruthless and, when we have our foot on someone’s throat, we need to put them away.”
The Impact gave Ballou Tabla his third start of the season and the 18-year-old had three scoring chances in the second half, only to be stopped by Ousted.
He was joined on the field in the 68th minute by another promising teenager, the Whitecaps’ 16-year-old Alphonso Davies, who subbed in for Tony Tchani.
With Hassoun Camara (concussion) and Victor Cabrera (ankle) out, Fisher started in Montreal’s central defence.
The Whitecaps made no changes from last week’s starting 11.
Vancouver’s next stops are Friday in Colorado and May 12 at Houston.
Montreal is on the road to face D.C. United next Saturday.
Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press