HOUSTON, Texas – A decent road performance by IMFC was spoiled by a couple of late Dynamo goals as the Montreal Impact fell 3-0 to Houston on Saturday night, at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Bleu-blanc-noir dominated the first half, moving the ball well and being aggressive in the final third, holding the advantage 7-4 in shots on goal, close to 70% possession and five corners to none (total of 10, a team record on the road), but a couple of huge stops by Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric were the difference.
A set piece broke the deadlock 15 minutes in when Brad Davis’s service from near the touchline curled into the box, where Englishmen Giles Barnes redirected the ball with his head into the far corner.
"We gave up that set piece goal, but I think that maybe we missed an assignment," said head coach Frank Klopas. "We had a lot of the ball and had some good chances, but the final pass in the final third just was not there. There were moments when our decision-making was not there even though we had a lot of possession."
A counter attack led to the Dynamo’s second goal when Ricardo Clark pounced on a ball in the 72nd minute and his shot was deflected by an Impact defender over goalkeeper Evan Bush.
Eight minutes later, Rob Lovejoy was first to a loose ball outside the box and his shot sailed over Bush into the back of the net.
"It felt like the first half we possessed the ball really well," said Donny Toia, “but the second half we gave the ball away to easily. Stupid, silly mistakes are costing us goals right now and we have to change that."
A few scoring chances
Andrés Romero fought off two defenders in the 10th minute to squeeze through and take a quick shot on goal that was stopped by Tyler Deric, diving to his left.
A give and go in the 21st minute initiated by Ignacio Piatti pushed Donny Toia in behind the defence, but as he chased the ball into the box, Deric came charging out to close the angle and the defender’s shot was deflected out of bounds.
Forward Jack McInerney one-timed a ball from distance that knuckle-balled just past the short side post towards the end of the first half.
"We knew that they have quality," said Bush. "Their top four guys are great players and their midfielders are strong and hard on the tackle. We created some pretty good chances in the first half, but we couldn't capitalize. Then the game got away from us at the end."
Jack Mac found some space in tight five minutes into the second half and fired a low ball that squeezed through the keeper’s legs, but deflected out of bounds.
The Impact almost found an equalizer with a free-kick of its own when Patrice Bernier dipped one over the wall that just skipped off of the top of the crossbar near the hour mark.
The Montreal Impact announced that its home opener at Stade Saputo on Saturday, April 18, against Chicago, has been rescheduled to Wednesday, September 23 at 8pm EDT. The match was moved because the Impact will leave for Mexico next week to allow time to prepare for the first leg of the Champions League finals against Club América on April 22, at Estadio Azteca, in Mexico City.
The Champions League decisive matchup is set for April 29 at Olympic Stadium (ticketmaster.ca).
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Victor Cabrera (Hassoun Camara 82’), Bakary Soumare, Laurent Ciman, Donny Toia; M- Patrice Bernier (Nigel Reo-Coker 67’), Eric Alexander, Andrés Romero, Ignacio Piatti, Dilly Duka (Dominic Oduro 67’); F-Jack McInerney
Subs not used: GK-Eric Kronberg; M-Calum Mallace, Maxim Tissot; F-Anthony Jackson-Hamel
HOU – G-Tyler Deric; D-DaMarcus Beasley, David Horst, Jermaine Taylor, Kofi Sarkodie; M-Brad Davis, Luis Garrido (Rob Lovejoy 64’), Nathan Sturgis, Ricardo Clark, Oscar Garcia (Alexander Lopez 53’); A-Giles Barnes (Chandler Hoffman 90’)
Subs not used: GK-Joe Willis; D-A.J. Cochran; M-Leonel Miranda; F-Will Bruin
HOU – Barnes (Davis) 15’
HOU – Clark (Lovejoy) 72’
HOU – Lovejoy 80’
MTL – Alexander 65’
HOU – Taylor 67’
MTL – Ciman 89’
MTL – Reo-Coker 90+2’