Patrice Bernier did what a captain does: he owned up to his mistake.
Midway through the second half, last Saturday in Philadelphia, Bernier could be pleased with his performance. The Montreal Impact captain had maintained possession, dictating the tempo for his team and completing 39 of his 40 passes, while also chipping in with some timely recoveries.
But it all stopped in the 67th minute, when referee Sorin Stoica deservedly showed Bernier a second yellow card for sliding dangerously at the Union’s Vincent Nogueira. Bernier had already been cautioned in the 22nd minute, when he blocked Cristian Maidana’s path to the ball too enthusiastically.
While Bernier said, on Tuesday, that he didn’t think he touched Nogueira on the critical play, he did admit that the tackle attempt itself “created something” for the referee to act upon.
“With my experience, I shouldn’t have put myself in that situation,” Bernier told reporters. “But it has happened. I [move on]. I’m already punished. I can’t play on Saturday or be eligible. I move forward.”
That was Bernier’s first career ejection in MLS. He had been suspended just once since returning to his hometown in December 2011: the MLS Disciplinary Committee banned him for one game for a risky challenge on Toronto FC’s Ryan Johnson on June 27, 2012.
On his way to the PPL Park locker room, Bernier received apparently sympathetic words and gestures from teammates former and current: Andrew Wenger, Laurent Ciman, Donny Toia and Evan Bush. And that was before Jack McInerney gave Montreal hopes of three points with an unlikely go-ahead goal, three minutes after Bernier walked.
“I was glad when I got back to the locker room; an official told me that we’d scored,” Bernier siad. “It takes some pressure off, knowing that you left your team with 10 men but that they're leading. I owe [Jack] a good one. But we got out with a point. It makes it easier to move on from the red.”
The group’s response to being down a man was what they were most pleased with. The Impact may have conceded a second to Maurice Edu later on, but the 2-2 tie was a good point away from home.
“That shows the kind of team that we are,” Dominic Oduro said. “That shows the confidence we have in our team, in our ability to keep the ball, regardless of the numbers that we have on the field. I think Jack scored an incredible goal against his former team. He was solid for us. Overall, we did well.”
Added head coach Frank Klopas: “Everything is timing, sometimes. Patrice wanted to make the play, and you’re a little bit late, and with that one, it’s hard for me to argue that one. But you could say, the corner kick that leads to their goal, it’s not a corner kick, they give it, but it’s those little things; some things go your way, some things don’t. But our ability, with 10 guys, to score the second goal… we didn't get the three, but got the positive one point. [We can] build on that.”