The Vancouver Whitecaps appeared on the verge of a first ever Canadian Championship title, but a late dagger by Hassoun Camara ended their hopes.
Hassoun Camara scored the cup-winning goal in the 84th minute, which complemented Felipe’s fantastic 49th minute strike.
The Whitecaps twice held the lead – first through a fourth minute goal from Camilo, who powered a free kick from 35 yards past Evan Bush and into the top right corner, and then once again following Daigo Kobayashi’s 69th minute goal, as the once-capped Japanese international finished a loose ball in the area from a play generated from a Nigel Reo-Coker cross from the right.
The way the match played out made the result all the sweeter for Impact coach Marco Schallibaum, who spoke glowingly about his team’s mentality after the double comeback.
“That’s a reason why I love this team,” Schallibaum said following the win. “They never give up, they have a lot of energy and we know we can always score at any time like tonight. This is why we are very good together. It’s important to have this mentality to the end to believe, to believe that we can win and make this 2-2.”
On the other side of the fence, the Whitecaps were once again let down by defending on a set piece, although head coach Martin Rennie and his players pointed to what they felt was an illegal block on defender Andy O’Brien.
“I think Andy got picked,” Vancouver goalkeeper Brad Knighton said. “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.”
The fact Hassoun’s goal came from a set piece added to Vancouver’s agony, given their struggles in that area in recent times.
“People need to pay attention to the stuff we’re going over in training,” Knighton said. “We go over that stuff day in, day out, and it comes down to us executing that on the field. They put up charts, they give us video footage, but ultimately it’s you versus the man across from you on set pieces and ultimately it’s not good enough right now.
“We need to figure it out and figure it out fast.”