ZAPOPAN, Mexico – The Impact played its first in a series of three games in as many days, Tuesday, earning its first win in training camp by a score of 1-0, against Mexican first division club Estudiantes Tecos at Estadio Tres de Marzo, in Zapopan, a borough of Guadalajara.
Forward Justin Braun scored the winning goal in the 64th minute. Following a deep ball from defender Josh Gardner, Braun beat goalkeeper Guadalupe Martinez with a left-footed volley. A few seconds earlier, Tecos hit the crossbar with a booming shot that originated from just inside the 18-yard box.
"It was a good team goal. I made a run and Josh (Gardner) gave me a great ball," said Braun. "It's never easy to play Mexican teams in Mexico, but the team did well and we had a good performance. We want to build on and take positives out of this game. We are starting to know each other and the coaching staff has put together a great group."
"We put a lot into it again. We had good moments, but still other moments when guys are not on the same page. As a starting point, I'm pleased with the effort," said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. "We tried different guys at different positions today. The two teams we lined up were different. It's going to be a work in progress until the beginning of the season."
"Anytime you win in Mexico, and especially this early in the preseason, it’s great," said midfielder Justin Mapp. "We were sharper today and played with energy. It's only the first week and we are moving in the right direction."
“We played to two good results in our first two games. It's just the beginning of camp, but we are off to a good start,” said defender Simon Gatti. “The game is much faster, so your decision making must be quicker as well and you can't take three or four extra touches.”
Sinisa Ubiparipovic had the first scoring chance of the game for the Impact in the 16th minute as his low shot across the box forced the Tecos goalkeeper to make a diving stop.
Five minutes later, Ubiparipovic fired a shot from 20 meters out that just sailed over the net.
In the 38th minute, striker Brian Ching dribbled through the middle of the field, blasting a left-footed strike that again forced the keeper to make a good save.
Just as the second half got under way, Gardner fed forward Sanna Nyassi in full sprint, whose shot hit the goalkeeper.
Tecos won a few free kicks towards the end of the game, but the Impact’s defence was able to hold the lead.
The Impact plays its next game tomorrow, at 5pm ET, against ITESO University in Guadalajara, before challenging Mexican club Atlas on Thursday, at 11 am ET.
First half line-up: G-Donovan Ricketts, D-Tyson Wahl, D-Nelson Rivas, D-Gienir Garcia, D-Simon Gatti, M-Justin Mapp, M-Evan James, M-Felipe, M-Sinisa Ubiparipovic, F-Brian Ching, F-Davy Arnaud
Second half line-up: G-Greg Sutton, D-Josh Gardner, D-Hassoun Camara, D-Nevio Pizzolitto, D-Shavar Thomas, M-Gerson Mayen, M-Patrice Bernier, M-Collen Warner, M-Francisco Mendoza, F-Sanna Nyassi, F-Justin Braun
Caution: Sinisa Ubiparipovic 31'