VANCOUVER – The Montreal Impact played a strong road game, winning the battles in midfield and closing down the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, earning a 0-0 draw at BC Place Wednesday night, against the hottest team in MLS at the moment, unbeaten in its last eight games.
“The players showed a lot of heart and character tonight,” said head coach Frank Klopas. “We defended very well against a very explosive team. We were committed to that part of the game and we got very good chances. In the end, we got a point in a difficult place to play. It’s a good game to rebound after the break.”
"We were here to play," said defender Matteo Ferrari. "We started in a good way. There were a lot of things working against us today and we wanted to make sure that we sent the message that it’s a new start for us. Now we have to make sure that we just keep getting points."
The Impact was the better side in the first half, holding over 56% of possession and dominating in the shots column 8-3. A big part of its success came in the midfield as Patrice Bernier and Gorka Larrea, making his first start for the team in MLS, were bulldogs in the middle of the park, winning a number of 50/50 balls and closing down space on Vancouver’s speedy midfielders.
As a result, the Impact found the first two best chances of the game. The first came early on when defender Hassoun Camara played a short lateral pass to Tissot at the top of the box. After one touch, the left-footer fired a shot from the top of the box that deflected of a Caps defender and forced keeper David Ousted into a reaction save. Then with less than five minutes left in the half, Tissot played a long ball over the Vancouver backline that found Jack McInerney on the run, but his shot went just wide.
Troy Perkins comes up big
As expected, the home side came out of the gates quickly in the second half when Kekutah Manneh exploded in front of the goal, but his shot was pushed away by Troy Perkins as he dove to his right. Then, midfielder Pedro Morales, taking a free kick from a sharp angle, drove a low shot on goal that the keeper managed to get the slightest touch and deflect out of harm’s way. In the 76th minute, Perkins came up big again when defender Carlyle Mitchell’s header from a corner kick changed directions quickly, preserving his 15th career shutout with Montreal and 51st in MLS against the third best offensive team in the league.
IMFC regained its footing and found a good scoring chance in the 73rd minute when Jack Mac won a ball in the box and played it to the half-circle where Tissot’s dipping shot rang off the crossbar. Then 10 minutes later, Tissot delivered a left-footed cross that bended towards McInerney, but his header crashed the post.
“We did not allow a goal on the road today which is very important,” said homegrown player Maxim Tissot. “We’re getting out of here with our heads up high. I played a bit as left midfielder with the Academy so it’s not like it was a new position for me. We’re looking forward to Sunday.”
The Impact will be back in Montreal Thursday and will play its next game Sunday at Stade Saputo versus the Houston Dynamo, as the club celebrates its Multicultural Night. Excellent tickets are still available via ticketmaster.ca.
MTL – GK-Troy Perkins; D-Hassoun Camara, Matteo Ferrari, Heath Pearce, Karl W. Ouimette; M-Gorka Larrea (Wandrille Lefèvre 76’), Patrice Bernier (Santiago Gonzalez 88’), Maxim Tissot, Andrés Romero, Issey Nakajima-Farran (Eric Miller 67’); F-Jack McInerney
Subs not used: GK-Evan Bush; D-Adrian Lopez, Futty Danso
VAN – GK-David Oustet; D-Carlyle Mitchell, Andy O’Brien, Johnny Leveron, Jordan Harvey; M-Gershon Koffie, Matias Laba, Kekuta Manneh (Sebastian Fernandez 62’), Pedro Morales, Darren Mattocks (Russell Teibert 75’); F-Erik Hurtado (Omar Salgado 87’)
Subs not used: GK-Paolo Tornaghi; D-Christian Dean; M-Nicolas Mezquida, Mehdi Ballouchy
MTL – Tissot 10’
MTL – Romero 33’
MTL – Larrea 74’
VAN – Mitchell 82’
VAN – Koffie 90+3’