MONTREAL, Quebec – A penalty kick goal by Patrice Bernier in the 80th minute helped the Montreal Impact earn a 1-1 draw with visiting Chivas USA Sunday night, in front of 18,932 spectators at Stade Saputo. After its 17th game, which marks the end of the first half of the season, the Impact remains atop the Eastern Conference standings with a one point lead over Sporting Kansas City, having two games in hand.
Chivas USA took advantage of a miscue in the midfield that led to an odd-man break in the 55th minute. Goats’ forward Jose Correa played a low lateral ball into the box. Following a blocked shot and one the hit the crossbar, Chivas midfielder Eric Avila got his own rebound and powered one past Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins from 12 yards out.
The Impact tied it up in the 80th minute when Patrice Bernier converted a penalty kick after Sanna Nyassi was taken down in the box. Bernier placed the ball into the bottom right corner for his second goal of the season, and is 8 for 8 on PK attempts for his career in MLS.
“We knew this wasn’t going to be an easy game as they are very structured defensively,” said Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum. “We had a few chances to score in the first half but we couldn’t find the back of the net. Then one mistake and they score. I think we did enough to win this game.”
“It’s unfortunate that we only earned one point today,” said Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier. “We did enough to score a few goals, maybe make it 2-1 or even 3-1, but we couldn’t break through. However, coming back to earn a point after being down for a second game in a row is important as these little points here and there will be key at the end of the season.”
“We played a pretty good game and created a lot of chances, but we couldn’t finish them,” said Impact midfielder Sanna Nyassi, voted as the Videotron Player of the game by supporters on the Impact Facebook page. “Because I’m African, I think I can adjust well to this kind of humid weather. Whenever we play in temperatures like this, I feel comfortable and I know I can contribute.”
In the 5th minute, Nyassi played forward Marco Di Vaio into the box, right side of goal from the half-circle, but the striker’s attempt on goal was blocked as the Goats’ keeper Dan Kennedy as he charged out.
Then in the 28th minute, Nyassi yet again played a short side cross towards goal that was bobbled by the keeper, bounced around and rolled out of bounds before Di Vaio could get a good shot away.
Two minutes later, the Gambian midfielder made another run down the left flank towards the near post and played a later ball to Felipe, but the Brazilian couldn’t manage to get enough behind his point blank shot.
Di Vaio came close again in the 60th minute when Felipe sent a cross to the six-yard-box from near the left-side touch line, but the Italian’s header was blocked by the goalkeeper.
The Impact will head to New York to take on the Red Bulls on Saturday, July 13, 7pm (ET), at Red Bull Arena. The game will be broadcast live on RDS and TSN2. The Impact will then return to Stade Saputo to host FC Dallas on Saturday, July 20, at 7pm (ET).
MTL – GK-Troy Perkins; D-Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta, Jeb Brovsky; M-Sanna Nyassi, Collen Warner, Felipe (Patrice Bernier 68’), Andrés Romero (Blake Smith 70’); F-Daniele Paponi, Marco Di Vaio (Andrew Wenger 86’)
Subs not used: GK-Evan Bush; D-Dennis Iapichino; M-Davy Arnaud, Andrea Pisanu
CHV – GK-Dan Kennedy; D-Josue Soto, Walter Vilchez, Mario de Luna, Carlos Borja; M-Jorge Villafana (Bobby Burling 81’), Gabriel Farfan (Tristan Bowen 71’), Carlos Alvarez, Marco Delgado, Eric Avila; F-Jose Correa (Julio Morales 63’)
Subs not used: GK-Patrick McLain; D-M-Marvin Iraheta, Edgar Mejia; F-Jose Manuel Rivera
CHV – Avila 55’
MTL – Bernier 80’ (PK)
CHV – Borja 39’
MTL – Bernier 84’