MONTREAL – In a game that was filled with emotion, dedicated to Karl W. Ouimette’ sister, the Montreal Impact played the LA Galaxy to a 2-2 draw in a roller coaster matchup at Stade Saputo Wednesday night, holding on to a point after going up by two in the first half on goals by Marco Di Vaio and Ignacio Piatti.
“We knew it was going to be an emotional match,” said head coach Frank Klopas. “We are where we are right now and we won`t be giving up until the end. There`s a lot to play for right now and we have one of our biggest games of the year next week. We need all of our fans to be there for us. We need this place very loud because this isn’t over yet.”
“They are a good team, so even though we are disappointed with giving up a two-goal lead, we knew they were going to be dangerous offensively,” said goalkeeper Evan Bush, who made two key stops in the 38th and 61st minutes. “We played hard against one of the best teams in the league and got a result.”
The home side dominated the first half, finding a number of good chances, including two early on that saw Di Vaio in close and Andrés Romero in a good goal scoring position, but both put their attempts wide of goal.
Then, in the 28th minute, Di Vaio finished a beautiful build up play with a nice first touch redirect in tight. Felipe played a though ball from half field to Piatti, who then started dribbling towards goal. Going right, the Argentine then played the ball in the other direction to Dilly Duka who was deep inside the 18. Duka laid off a short lateral ball inside the six. Tic-tac-toe and Di Vaio tapped it home.
In a moment of solidarity, Di Vaio, followed by his teammates, ran to the bench to embrace Karl W. Ouimette after scoring to show support for him his sister Julie, who passed away after a 12-year battle with Leukemia early last week.
IMFC doubled its lead in the 43rd minute when Felipe chased a long ball down the left flank. The Brazilian played a short pass to the top of the box where Piatti faked right, went left and fired a low shot just inside the post.
Injuries to the backline then forced the bleu-blanc-noir to make two early changes, starting with Matteo Ferrari coming out for Wandrille Lefèvre at the half. About 12 minutes later, Hassoun Camara went down with an elbow injury.
While the French defender was receiving treatment on the sidelines, the Galaxy took advantage of the extra man on the field to score its first of the game. Gyasi Zardes found some space alone near the far post and tucked away a low pass from the opposite flank by Juninho in the 59th minute.
Shortly after Ouimette made his entrance in place of Camara, the Galaxy was able to again take advantage of a breakdown. Keane was left alone to play a low cross in the 64th minute that found a sliding Alan Gordon in close.
The result was bitter sweet as the Impact tied the league’s hottest team right now.
“We are not satisfied because we were winning 2-0 in the first half,” explained Di Vaio. “We could have scored a third goal, but I am happy because we played with the same intensity in the first and second half. We have been doing a lot better for the last month and a half so we know that we can take on these big teams. That’s a positive thing, but we did want to win. We wanted to win this game for Karl and his family. We wanted to do a nice gesture for him and give them positive emotions in this hard time.”
In other news, midfielder Felipe, who was involved in both Impact goals, will serve a one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation.
The Impact will head to Boston in the coming days to take on the New England Revolution on Saturday at Gillette Stadium (7:30pm - TVA Sports, TSN 690). Then another short turnaround as IMFC plays the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, at Stade Saputo, in the first of two meetings between the two teams in CONCACAF Champions League play (8pm).
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Eric Miller, Heath Pearce, Matteo Ferrari (Wandrille Lefèvre 45’), Hassoun Camara (Karl W. Ouimette 59’); M-Calum Mallace, Felipe, Andrés Romero, Dilly Duka (Maxim Tissot 73’), Ignacio Piatti; F-Marco Di Vaio
Subs not used: GK-Troy Perkins; D-Futty Danso; F-Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Jack McInerney
LA – GK-Brian Rowe; D-Dan Gargan, Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez; M-Baggio Husidic (Alan Gordon 62’), Juninho, Landon Donovan, Marcelo Sarvas, Stefan Ishizaki (Robbie Rogers 45’); F-Gyasi Zardes (Jose Villareal 90’), Robbie Keane
Subs not used: GK-Brian Perk; D-James Riley, Tommy Meyer; M-Rafael Garcia
MTL – Di Vaio (Duka, Piatti) 28’
MTL – Piatti (Felipe, Duka) 43’
LA – Zardes (Juninho) 59’
LA – Gordon (Keane, Donovan) 64’
LA – Gargan 37’
LA – Donovan 44’
MTL – Piatti 53’
MTL – Felipe 80’
MTL – Mallace 87’
Karl Ouimette's post-game comments
Marco Di Vaio's post-game comments
Evan Bush's post-game comments