Mancosu, Piatti score while Bernier delivers two assists
MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact picked up a 2-2 tie against the reigning MLS Cup champions, Seattle Sounders FC, this Saturday night in front of 34,373 supporters in its home opener at Olympic Stadium.
The Bleu-blanc-noir went ahead 2-0 through goals by Matteo Mancosu and Nacho Piatti before Nicolás Lodeiro, on a penalty kick, and Will Bruin pulled the visitors level in the last minutes.
“We have to learn to better manage the games,” said Impact head coach Mauro Biello. “We have to fight to the end and avoid lapses in concentration. There were positives: there were moments when we played out of the back, found solutions, unbalanced and created two goals. But right now, there are emotions, and we’re disappointed that we let Seattle back in the game.”
Bleu-blanc-noir improves on previous performance
Despite a good start for Montreal, the Sounders created the first opportunities, first through a Jordan Morris strike that flew over the bar and then through a Clint Dempsey free kick.
Still, the Bleu-blanc-noir opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Fed by Patrice Bernier, Nacho Piatti lifted a delicious ball over the opposition defence for Matteo Mancosu. The Italian rounded goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who found himself in no man’s land, before finishing with his left foot. Bernier’s pass to Piatti pushed the captain to second place in the Impact’s MLS history for assists with 22, one more than Justin Mapp.
“It was our first game at home, in front of 35,000 fans,” said Nacho Piatti. “We did well in the first half and started the second well. Then, in the last 10 minutes, we concede a penalty, and we let them play. We let them cross, and it’s 2-2. It is what it is; we have to work to do better.”
After both teams traded headed shots – Hernán Bernardello on a Chris Duvall cross, followed by Dempsey on a Gustav Svensson delivery –, the Sounders nearly found an equalizer. After an Impact attack, Nicolás Lodeiro swiftly pushed the ball to Jordan Morris, who challenged Víctor Cabrera one-on-one. Morris’ shot, however, only touched the outside of the near post. This play came after a Román Torres foul on Ambroise Oyongo that went unpunished.
The Impact doubled its lead in the 51st minute. After a ball recovery, Bernier once more played it to Piatti, who embarked on a run. Mancosu’s run on the left fooled Torres, who couldn’t quite recover as Piatti challenged Chad Marshall and shot the ball low to Frei’s right.
The two teams once more got chances on headers – off of corners this time – before a penalty kick cut the lead down to one. After a contact on Oniel Fisher in the Montreal box, Lodeiro converted the penalty kick given by referee Jair Marrufo with a low shot to the right of goalkeeper Evan Bush, who’d chosen Lodeiro’s natural side.
“We take three points today if I don’t concede the penalty,” said defender Laurent Ciman. I think it’s soft. I want to apologize to my teammates. We can be happy with our attack. We saw some good things. We played out of the back and put together some nice sequences. We have to look at what we didn’t do well and work hard to go further next time.”
The Sounders thought they had drawn level late on after Dempsey beat Bush with a fierce shot, but Mr. Marrufo waved the goal off because of a handball call on Morris. Nevertheless, the visitors, through substitute Will Bruin, managed to make it 2-2 after a cross in the dying seconds.
The Impact will embark on a three-game road stretch starting next Saturday, March 18, at 2pm at Yankee Stadium against New York City FC (TVA Sports, 98,5FM & TSN Radio 690). Following these three games, the Bleu-blanc-noir will play its first game of the season at Stade Saputo on Saturday, April 15, at 3pm against Atlanta United FC (TVA Sports, CTV, 98,5FM & TSN Radio 690). Excellent tickets are still available on impactmontreal.com.
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Chris Duvall, Víctor Cabrera (Wandrille Lefèvre 84’), Laurent Ciman, Ambroise Oyongo; M-Dominic Oduro (Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla 67’), Hernán Bernardello, Marco Donadel, Patrice Bernier (Adrián Arregui 59’), Ignacio Piatti; F-Matteo Mancosu
Subs not used – GK-Maxime Crépeau; D-Daniel Lovitz; M-Calum Mallace; F-Nick DePuy
SEA – GK-Stefan Frei; D-Gustav Svensson (Oniel Fisher 59’), Román Torres (Will Bruin 85’), Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; M-Nicolás Lodeiro, Clint Dempsey, Harry Shipp (Henry Wingo 72’), Cristian Roldan, Osvaldo Alonso; F-Jordan Morris
Subs not used – GK-Tyler Miller; D-Tony Alfaro; M-Jordy Delem, Álvaro Fernández
MTL – Mancosu (Piatti, Bernier) 17’
MTL – Piatti (Bernier) 51’
SEA – Lodeiro 83’ (PK)
SEA – Bruin 90’ + 4’
MTL – Ciman 11’
MTL – Mancosu 65’