The Montreal Impact loses 4-1 against Chicago in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - Two clubs with different objectives met on the Al Lang Stadium pitch, Wednesday morning. The Montreal Impact rotated its squad, looking to offer minutes to young players while allowing veterans to find their rhythm, while the Chicago Fire and head coach Veljko Paunovic started what might be their typical XI for the 2017 season.
The game started on the wrong foot for the Bleu-blanc-noir. In the first minute, after a defensive mistake, Michael De Leeuw recovered the ball on the left flank before crossing on the ground for David Accam, who redirected the ball behind Maxime Crépeau. Then, in the 15th minute, Accam took the ball on the right, crossing for Nemanja Nikolic who laid the ball off for Dax McCarthy. The midfielder took his shot first time with the outside of his right foot, sending the ball in the top corner. Three minutes later, right-back Michael Harrington sent a high cross towards the Impact penalty point, which was deflected by a defender in his own goal.
After these initial 20 minutes, the Impact found its marks and spaces in the Chicagoan half, but Patrice Bernier and Marco Donadel could not hit the target on their opportunities, while Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, Anthony Wallace and Nick DePuy, who entered the game in the 33rd minute for Anthony Jackson-Hamel, could not really threaten Jorge Bava’s goal, the keeper making saves on their shots on target.
Head coach Mauro Biello mixed his cards during half time, making 10 substitutions. Evan Bush took over Crépeau between the sticks; a back four of Aron Mkungilwa, Laurent Ciman, Víctor Cabrera and Chris Duvall replaced the first-half defenders; Louis Béland-Goyette, Calum Mallace and Andrés Romero patrolled the midfield area after the 46th minute; finally Matteo Mancosu and Ignacio Piatti took the attacking positions of Dominic Oduro and Tabla after the break. The only player staying on being DePuy, who shifted to the right.
Even though the momentum swing went in the Impact’s favour, the team threatening a couple of times, notably through a Piatti volley in the 60th, the Fire found the back of the net once again, this time Nikolic being the scorer, only a few moments after Michael Salazar was substituted for DePuy.

The Bleu-blanc-noir was still able to find a consolation goal, coming from Piatti’s foot on a penalty, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.
“We had a chance to play against an MLS side that played their starters, while we had less experience in that first group,” explained Impact head coach Mauro Biello. “We saw the difficulties we had in the first 20 minutes. But it’s a good experience for some of them and, for me, it gives me answers, an indication of how much work we have to do and where we are.”
“It’s a bit of a wake-up call,” said captain Patrice Bernier. “We now know again the MLS standard. We have to work in this league, even if you are good on paper. We take this lesson, it shows we have to keep on working hard and we have things to perfect.”
The Montreal Impact continues its training camp in St. Petersburg, in Florida. The club will face D.C. United this Saturday at 5pm ET, in its first game of the MLS Suncoast Invitational organized by the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
CHI –G-Jorge Bava; D-Michael Harrington (Jonathan Campbell 71’), Johan Kappelhof (Joey Calistri 83’), Joao Meira (Patrick Doody 78’), Brandon Vincent (Matej Dekovic 71’); M-Dax McCarty (Drew Conner 78’), Juninho (Collin Fernandez 78’), Arturo Alvarez (John Goossens 61’), Michael de Leeuw (Brandt Bronico 71’), David Accam (Luis Solignac 61’); F-Nemanja Nikolic (David Arshakyan 71’).
MTL – G-Maxime Crépeau (Evan Bush 46’); D- Kyle Fisher (Chris Duvall 46’), Mélé Temguia^ (Víctor Cabrera 46’), Wandrille Lefèvre (Laurent Ciman 46’), Anthony Wallace* (Aron Mkungilwa^ 46’); M-Dominic Oduro (Matteo Mancosu 46’), Marco Donadel (Calum Mallace 46’), Patrice Bernier (Andrés Romero 46’), Hernán Bernardello (Louis Béland-Goyette 46’), Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla (Nacho Piatti 46’); F-Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Nick DePuy 33’, Michael Salazar 61’)
* Player on trial
^ Montreal Impact Academy player
CHI – Accam 1’
CHI – McCarthy 15’
CHI – Fisher (CSC) 18’
CHI – Nikolic 64’
MTL – Piatti (PEN) 88’
MTL – Donadel 23’
MTL – Tabla 30’
MTL – Ciman 52’