The lower seeded Canadian clubs used home field advantage to each post a 2-1 victory in the first legs of the USL First Division Semifinals Thursday evening as Montreal downed Puerto Rico and Vancouver edged Portland.
For the third consecutive playoff contest, the Montreal Impact (fifth seed) put two goals on the board, taking a two-goal lead in the early going on goals from Tony Donatelli and Roberto Brown in the first 20 minutes.
As they had done the week before, the Puerto Rico Islanders (third seed) cut into their two-goal hole before leaving as Jonathan Steele connected in the first half. The series concludes in Bayamon Sunday at 6:00 pm ET on www.USLlive.com.
The Portland Timbers (top seed) returned to the site of their lone road loss on the year and were unable to change the result. Vancouver Whitecaps (seventh seed) striker Charles Gbeke scored the opener and set up Marcus Haber for the game-winner early in the second half.
Opening their playoff run after a bye for winning the regular season title run, the Timbers’ lone goal came via a penalty kick from Ryan Pore and spoiled the Whitecaps shutout status in the postseason. The series concludes in Portland Sunday at 7:00 pm ET on Fox Soccer Channel.