Whitecaps FC defeat Impact at Stade Saputo

Vancouver Whitecaps FC has caught its first break in the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship. Despite several illustrious chances by host Impact de Montréal in tonight's contest, the Whitecaps held their ground to come away with a 2:0 victory and their first three points in the 2009 competition.

Of course, the Whitecaps captured the three big points by finishing on their early chances. Marcus Haber scored in the first minute and Charles Gbeke scored in the 17th minute to secure the Whitecaps win in front of the 11,483 fans at Stade Saputo in Montréal.

Twenty-year old striker Haber scored the opening goal off a long centering pass from teammate Gordon Chin. Haber not only became the quickest goal scorer in Nutrilite Canadian Championship history, but he also became the youngest.

Sixteen minutes later, the Whitecaps doubled their score off a header by former Impact striker Gbeke. As did Haber on the first goal, Gbeke slipped behind the Impact defence to put himself into scoring position. Whitecaps defender Takashi Hirano put the ball in the air for Gbeke to head home.

In spite of the goal difference, the Impact came back on attack and created numerous scoring chances that perhaps on another night would have found the back of the net. Despite the home team's control and scoring chances, the Impact could not beat goalkeeper Jay Nolly or his post.

In the 31st minute, Simon Gatti had a wonderful chance that hit the post and stayed out. Roberto Brown struck on the rebound, but his shot equally hit the post and stayed out of the goal.

A few minutes later, Rocco Placentino hit the frame and then Joey Gjertsen missed on a close chance. By game's end, the Impact would have outshot its opponent 18-6.

Happy to rely on the counter attack, the Whitecaps held their lead through to the end of the match. The Whitecaps had a few more chances, but goalkeeper Matt Jordan did well to keep the difference at two goals.

After three matches, all three teams in the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship have played two games. Toronto FC leads the board with six points (2-0-0) while Whitecaps FC now trail at three points (1-0-1). The Impact, last year's champions, have slipped to third place with no points (0-0-2). Next week, the Impact and Whitecaps meet again, this time on 27 May at Swangard Stadium in Vancouver, BC. The match will be broadcast on Sportsnet and Radio-Canada.

The 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship runs 6 May to 18 June in Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver. The winning team not only claims the Voyageurs Cup, but also qualifies for the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League season.

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