Piatti and Jackson-Hamel score to keep three points in Montreal
MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact took three important points for the MLS Cup playoff race, Saturday night, beating Orlando City SC by a 2-1 score. After Cyle Larin gave an early lead to the visitors, Nacho Piatti, on a penalty, and Anthony Jackson-Hamel, in the 84th minute, brought the Bleu-blanc-noir ahead at the finish line in front of a full house at Stade Saputo.
“This is a nice win for us tonight. We played well and for most of the game, we were in control,” said Impact head coach Mauro Biello. “We stayed calm after conceding the goal, we continued to play and we respected our game plan. Credit goes to the players who were able to maintain the rhythm. Now, it’s time for us to push on.”
Prudent start to the game from both sides
The two teams started the game cautiously, both aware of the importance of this game. The Montreal midfield was able to control this key area of the pitch, creating two chances in the opening ten minutes, but Dominic Oduro, stopped by Joe Bendik, and Blerim Dzemaili, blocked by Larin, could not find the back of the net.
In the 12th minute, Larin took advantage of a mix up in the Bleu-blanc-noir’s defense to put his team ahead. The Lions’ Canadian international forward used his speed to be first to the ball in the box, only having to touch it past Bush to score.
The Impact kept on controlling the first half despite this unfortunate goal. The Montreal players’ willingness to isolate Piatti and to find him as often as possible gave the Argentine shooting opportunities, without really testing the Orlando goalkeeper.
Impact gets its reward
Right at the start of the second half, the Impact pressed on. Piatti, particularly determined tonight, intercepted a pass by Scott Sutter in his own box. The Bleu-blanc-noir’s number 10 attacked immediately, cut inside and was fouled unequivocally, winning a penalty which he converted, despite Bendik’s good effort, who went the right way and even touched the ball.
The visitors had problems creating chances, danger often being snuffed out before the striking duo of Larin and Dom Dwyer could touch the ball. In this department, Laurent Ciman, intervening on Dwyer in the 52nd minute as a counter was in full spring, and Víctor Cabrera, decisive on a cross by Antonio Nocerino in the 57th minute, were solid.
“We never gave up. Even after the goal, we had opportunities,” underlined captain Patrice Bernier. “We showed a lot of character and will to come back in the game. The defense was also very strong.”
In the 72nd minute, the stadium rose, thinking that Piatti had given his team the lead, but his powerful shot hit the crossbar.
Then, 12 minutes later, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, sent through behind the defense by Dzemaili, beat Bendik with a shot that was lightly tipped by José Aja. The Limoilou native scored his sixth goal this season and a second winning goal in 2017.
The Impact travels to Philadelphia for another game against a direct rival in the East, on Saturday, August 12 at 8pm at Talen Energy Center (TVA Sports, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690), before starting a series of four consecutive home games, beginning with a visit from Chicago Fire and Bastian Schweinsteiger, on Wednesday, August 16, at 7:30pm (TVA Sports, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690 – TICKETS).
MTL- G-Evan Bush ; D- Daniel Lovitz, Víctor Cabrera, Laurent Ciman, Chris Duvall; M-Marco Donadel, Blerim Dzemaili, Patrice Bernier ; F- Ignacio Piatti (Shaun Francis 89’), Matteo Mancosu (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 79’), Dominic Oduro (Michael Salazar 73’).
Unused subs: Maxime Crépeau, Wandrille Lefèvre, Louis Béland-Goyette, Calum Mallace.
ORL- G-Joseph Bendik ; D-Donny Toia, Jose Aja, Scott Sutter, Jonathan Spector ; M-Will Johnson, Kaká, Cristian Higuita (Luis Gil 66’), Antonio Nocerino (Giles Barnes 84’); F-Dom Dwyer(Carlos Rivas 73’), Cyle Larin.
Unused subs: Josh Saunders, Tommy Redding, Servando Carrasco, Richie Laryea.
ORL - Larin 12’
MTL - Piatti 48’ (PK)
MTL – Jackson-Hamel (Dzemaili) 84’