Rookies Blake Smith, Maxim Tissot step up in crucial moment for Impact


Blake Smith provided the assist on Ferrari's winning goal last Saturday

MONTREAL – Rookies Blake Smith and Maxim Tissot shared a glorious moment last Saturday, when both picked up their first MLS assist in the 3-2 win against Real Salt Lake.

Unfazed by the 2-1 deficit their team faced nearly 80 minutes into the game, both players kept a cool head and were crucial in overturning it. The Montreal staff was justifiably delighted to see the youngsters capitalizing on their chances. Tissot and Smith earned plaudits from Marco Schällibaum for their performances, but they’ve already moved on.

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Smith, for one, would be entitled to a bit of crowing. It was him, after all, that delivered the corner leading to Matteo Ferrari’s dramatic winner. Yet he played down his contribution in typically soft-spoken fashion.

Tissot sets up Di Vaio's goal

“I was fortunate enough for that one to go in,” said Smith, who’s been taking corners on the right side for years, on Monday morning. “I was just trying to put a good ball in and that’s all I can control. The guy at the other end of the ball is the one that has to put it in the net. Matteo did a great job.”

Tissot, meanwhile, took some time to even realize that his pass to Andrew Wenger, who played Marco Di Vaio in for the equalizer, was an assist.

“It’s good for my confidence, although it’s the second pass; I didn’t even know it existed in MLS, but that’s fine,” Tissot told MLSsoccer.com. “That’s also how I play: Marco [Schällibaum] wants me to bring offense to the table. I think I have to improve defensively, but I make up for it with my offensive play.”

Both players’ ardor and attacking mind came in handy to turn the tide against Salt Lake, and they’ve already grasped that they’re from a similar mold. Born 15 months apart, Smith and Tissot share such a friendship off the field that they’ll move in together this summer when Tissot finishes his studies.

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Off-the-field bonding, Tissot pointed out, can only facilitate on-field understanding. Both future roommates are aware that there’s a long way to go, but they could well resolve, on the long run, a problem that Montreal have had since their NASL days: the left flank.

“We’ve joked about it a bit,” Tissot admitted. “But we’re also thinking about it a bit, for real. It’d be cool, say five years from now, to make up the left side of the Montreal Impact.”

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