MONTREAL, Quebec – The Montreal Impact played Orlando City SC to a 2-2 draw in its MLS home opener at Olympic stadium in front to of 25,245 spectators on Saturday afternoon, with goals by Ignacio Piatti and Jack McInerney.
IMFC couldn’t have asked for a better start to its 2015 home opener, taking an early 2-0 lead only to see OCSC tie things up around the 30th minute mark following a goal and an assist by Kaka in just under two minutes of play.
“We started off quickly and we got a little too casual in our play,” said Impact head coach Frank Klopas. “It’s a little disappointing because we could have been a little sharper. I feel like we let this one slip away at home. Now we have to regroup and get ready for our biggest game of the year on April 7.”
“It’s a game where we didn’t press enough towards the later stages of the first half,” explained Nigel Reo-Coker. “For us to be successful this season, we have to play with a high tempo for the full 90 minutes. If we do that, every team in this league will struggle against us.”
The bleu-blanc-noir’s Designated Player Ignacio Piatti went low, right side to bury his first league goal of the year on a PK in the 14th minute, after defender Sean St. Ledger handled the ball in the box.
Then, forward Jack McInerney ran down a ball near the top of the box and spectacularly chipped Orlando goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who was off his line in the 27th minute.
“Ricketts started to run out and everyone was caught looking at the ball,” McInerney explained. “The ball was bouncing and I thought my only option was to chip him, even though he is 6’4”!
Despite the good start by the home side, it took Orlando City just two minutes to equalize. The first goal came in the 29th minute when a loose ball in the box was poked home by Pedro Ribeiro. The second came a minute later when Kaka was played in behind the defence and placed his shot far side.
Both teams’ goalkeepers exchanged huge saves in the first half. OCSC and former Impact man Donovan Ricketts pushed a 30-yard blast from Marco Donadel over the bar in the 9th minute, before Eric Kronberg, who made his first start in an Impact uniform, stopped Kaka’s top corner attempt after the Brazilian snuck into the box 15 minutes later.
IMFC rebounded well in the second half, finding the best scoring chances for either side, but was unable to find the go ahead marker.
“I think we were better with the ball in the second half. Even though we had a lot of the possession in and we pinned them in, we just couldn’t get the third one,” explained Klopas.
Winger Dominic Oduro came close in the 62nd minute when he curled one from just outside the right side of the box, just missing far side.
Jack Mac almost found a second goal with a bicycle kick in the 72nd minute that was scooped up by Ricketts. Five minutes later, Piatti cut past two guys towards the half circle before firing a shot that was caught by the Jamaican keeper.
With a bye week this weekend , the Impact heads to Costa Rica on April 4 to prepare for the decisive leg of the Champions League semifinal series against Alajuelense, on Tuesday, April 7 at 10pm (TVA Sports, Sportsnet, TSN 690), at Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto.
MTL – GK-Eric Kronberg; D-Victor Cabrera, Bakary Soumare, Wandrille Lefèvre, Donny Toia; M-Nigel Reo-Coker (Patrice Bernier 76’), Marco Donadel (Andrés Romero 69’), Dominic Oduro, Eric Alexander, Ignacio Piatti; F-Jack McInerney (Romario Williams 84’)
Subs not used: GK-Evan Bush; M-Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé, Calum Mallace; F-Anthony Jackson-Hamel
ORL – GK-Donovan Ricketts; D-Luke Boden, Aurélien Collin, Sean St. Ledger, Seb Hines; M-Tyler Turner, Amobi Okugo, Eric Avila, Kaka; F-Pedro Ribeiro, Danny Mwanga (Bryan Rochez 66’)
Subs not used: GK-Earl Edwards Jr; D-Tommy Redding; M-Harrison Heath
MTL – Piatti (PEN) 14’
MTL – McInerney 27’
ORL – Ribeiro (Kaka) 29’
ORL – Kaka (Ribeiro) 30’
MTL – Piatti 15’
MTL – Oduro 34’
MTL – Donadel 58’
ORL – Collin 63’
MTL – Reo-Coker 74’
ORL – Turner 76’