The Vancouver Whitecaps gave the expansion Montreal Impact a first-hand look at what their impressive force of attackers can do.
Eric Hassli scored in the first half and rookie Darren Mattocks and Sebastien Le Toux had goals in the second as the Whitecaps downed Montreal Impact 3-0 in pre-season play Friday night at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic.
The second-year Whitecaps showed their superiority up front as Hassli scored in the 38th minute, Mattocks combined with recently acquired striker Le Toux for a goal in the 70th, and Le Toux capped it with a goal on a penalty in the 81st.
“It's a pre-season game so you don't get too carried away, but it was a win and we saw a lot of the things we wanted to see,” said Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie. “And to score three goals is always good.”
It was the opening game for both Canadian-based Major League Soccer clubs at the eight-team tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World.
A sparse crowd in the 2,000-seat soccer stadium watched two teams that will face one another in their season openers March 10 in Vancouver.
“Obviously it wasn't the result we wanted but we get another chance in two weeks,” said Montreal midfielder Davy Arnaud, who wore the captain's armband. “In the final third, we need to get a little sharper and get better ideas and create clear cut chances for ourselves.
“We competed and battled and did all that stuff. Our chances will come if we keep playing the way we can.”
The Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City played to a 0-0 draw in another match.
Toronto FC plays Saturday night against USL club Orlando City and Dallas meets Swedish club BK Hacken.
The Whitecaps struck when newly acquired defender Martin Bonjour made a run down the right side and slipped a pass to Hassli at the top of the penalty area for a low shot that gave the diving Donovan Ricketts no chance.
Vancouver goaltender Joe Cannon needed to be sharp twice in the opening half, first on Arnaud's hard low shot in the 28th that he stopped with his outstretched feet and again in the 44th when Felipe intercepted the clear of Josh Gardner's corner and sneaked a low shot through traffic that Cannon dropped to the ground to save.
Both teams substituted often in the second half, with Vancouver making a raft of changes in the 63rd minute, including bringing in Le Toux.
It was only three minutes after Andrew Wenger, Montreal's first overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, came on the field that Mattocks, the No. 2 overall pick by Vancouver, got the insurance goal.
Le Toux, a recent pick up from the Philadelphia Union, back-footed a pass to Mattocks, who broke in on the left side and scored on a high shot from close range. He used his speed again for a good chance in the 78th that was stopped by Ricketts.
The Whitecaps were awarded a penalty when Long Tan was brought down in the area and Le Toux drilled in the shot.
Despite the defeat, Montreal coach Jesse Marsch took heart in playing a strong first half.
“Actually, the first half was good for both teams,” he said. “For a pre-season it was a good game, a real game.
“Two weeks away from real games, I think we're better off for experiencing this game and hopefully we can get two more games here that are this pace and level that will help us get ready.”
Vancouver's Camilo was shown the yellow card late in the first half for a tackle from behind on Patrice Bernier that ignited some shoving from both sides. Montreal's Felipe saw yellow in the second for a tackle on Gershon Koffie.
Whitecaps midfielder John Thorrington came out of the game with an injury but there was no immediate word on his condition. Midfielder Davide Chiumiento was taken out early in the game as a precaution after what Rennie said was a knock on the back.
The Impact were admitted to MLS as it's 19th franchise this season, one year after Vancouver and Portland joined.