May 7, 2010
At long last! Montreal finally has its MLS team. Commissioner Don Garber drops by Excentris to welcome Quebec’s biggest city in the North American first division. “I expect big things here,” Garber says prophetically. Happy and relieved to bring the 19th MLS team to his supporters, club president Joey Saputo doesn’t hide his emotion. “This is what Montreal deserved,” Saputo says. “A great league within a great city.”
May 8, 2010
No time for complacency. The next night, the Impact has a date with the NSC Minnesota Stars, a club that would go on to join MLS as Minnesota United FC. However, even with defender Kevin Friedland getting ejected in the 69th minute, the Stars open the scoring in the 78th through Brian Cvilikas. That goal stings the Bleu-blanc-noir, which reacts immediately. Only seconds after the ensuing kickoff, Rocco Placentino scores off of a Tony Donatelli cross. Then, in stoppage time, Placentino clinches the win “with a thunderous header,” says La Presse’s Pascal Milano. But the hero of the day insists that this was a team win. “The important thing,” Placentino says, “is to take all three points against a tough team that defended like it was the Great Wall of China.”
May 11, 2011
On a fine Wednesday night, Stade Saputo gets a taste of MLS. Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls are in town for a fiercely contested friendly. While Dwayne De Rosario and Henry come up short due to the post and the assistant referee’s flag, Ali Gerba scores the only goal of the game, a header. As both teams are in the middle of their league season – the Red Bulls didn’t even get to train between their game at Los Angeles the previous Saturday and this one –, every single player apart from the substitute goalkeepers get minutes. Still, Montreal head coach Marc Dos Santos points out that, more and more, “our players’ reflexes are getting sharper and sharper”.