MONTREAL, Quebec – The Montreal Impact earned a shutout for the first time in MLS on Saturday, defeating the Portland Timbers 2-0 (0-0 at halftime) at Olympic Stadium. With the win, the Impact remains undefeated at home (2-0-1).
The Impact opened the scoring in the 76th minute from the penalty spot that resulted from a hand ball foul in the box by Eric Brunner. Forward Bernardo Corradi buried the opportunity right down the middle, fooling goalkeeper Joseph Bendik as he dove right. This was Corradi’s third goal in as many games, his third of the season, and his second from the penalty spot. Bendik came in for Troy Perkins in the 67th minute due to a facial injury.
The Impact then doubled its lead in the 84th minute, when Corradi played a ball down the left flank to Davy Arnaud, whose low cross curled through the penalty box, just out of reach of the diving keeper. The ball fell to substitute Sinisa Ubiparipovic, who scored into an open net.
Postgame: Marsch happy with performance
“We had opportunities to score today,” said Corradi. “If we keep creating these chances we’ll keep scoring goals. The guys who came off the bench earned opportunities as well. We have to continue like this because with so many games coming up this month, we’ll need that help from the bench.”
“It’s definitely one of our goals to not concede at home and to be tough to play here,” said Ubiparipovic. “The entire group worked towards that in today’s game and I think it was a very god performance defensively.”
“We’ve felt all along that the team was coming together,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. “No disrespect to Portland, because they have a good team despite their slow start, but this was a dominant performance from start to finish. We’ve tried to work hard on when to go for those attacking plays, and when to go for that extra pass. We are still trying to fine tune that balance on when to do what. If we would have held on to the ball a little longer in the first half, and made that extra pass, we would have had even better opportunities.”
Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who made four saves, registered his first shutout with the Impact, a second in as many career matches versus Portland. He made a key save against Jack Jewsbury in the 38th minute.
In the 14th minute, the Impact almost opened the scoring when midfielder Justin Mapp won a ball from a Timbers defender along the goal line just outside of the box. His cross back towards the penalty spot found Davy Arnaud, whose shot went over the net.
A flurry of chances after the 70th minute just about broke the deadlock. First, Felipe fired a shot from about 20 meters out that was tipped out of bounds by the keeper. The ensuing corner kick was stopped point blank after defender Matteo Ferrari got a head on it from the penalty spot.
The Impact dominated most facets of the game, including shots 14-11, blocked shots 5-1, duels won 45-33 and ball possession 54-46%.
Forward Eduardo Sebrango, who turned 39 on April 13, played seven minutes in his MLS debut, coming on as a late substitute for Bernardo Corradi in the 89th minute. Sebrango is currently the oldest player in the league.
On the road to the CONCACAF Champions League, the Impact will play its next game this Wednesday at Olympic Stadium, against Toronto FC in the first leg of the 2012 Amway Canadian Championship at 8pm.
Regular season action resumes on the road, Saturday, May 5, against the Eastern Conference leading Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Park.
Season tickets are still available online at impactmontreal.com or by calling 514-328-3668 while individual for all games presented at the Olympic Stadium are also available through the Admission network.
Highlights: MTL 2, POR 0
MTL – GK-Donovan Ricketts, D-Zarek Valentin, D-Shavar Thomas, D-Matteo Ferrari, D-Tyson Wahl, Collen Warner, Felipe, Davy Arnaud, Justin Mapp (Lamar Neagle 57’); F – Sanna Nyassi (Sinisa Ubiparipovic 68’), Bernardo Corradi (Eduardo Sebrango 89’)
Unused Subs: GK – Greg Sutton; D – Josh Gardner, Jeb Brovsky, Patrice Bernier
POR – GK - Troy Perkins (Joseph Bendik 67’); D – Steve Purdy (Freddie Braun 20’), Hanyer Mosquera, Eric Brunner, Steven Smith; M – Darlington Nagbe, (c) Jack Jewsbury, Lovel Palmer, Diego Chara; F – Jorge Perlaza (Franck Songo’o 59’), Kris Boyd
MTL – Bernardo Corradi 76’(PK)
MTL – Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Arnaud, Corradi) 84’
MTL – Sanna Nyassi 68’
POR – Kris Boyd 77’