Impact takes a point in Utah

Defender Jukka Raitala scores first MLS goal in 1-1 draw

SANDY, Utah – The Montreal Impact came back from a goal behind to earn a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake, Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah. Impact defender Jukka Raitala tied the game early in the second half with his first MLS goal, after Joao Plata had opened the scoring for the home team from the penalty spot.

“Of course we would’ve liked to come away with the three points, and the players showed it, because we had a good second half” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “We created, throughout the entirety of the game, a lot of chances. If we were a little more efficient, we could’ve taken the three points, but we need to be satisfied with the one we earned.”

The Impact now sits in the sixth and last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with nine games remaining in the regular season.

Missing something in the first half

The Bleu-blanc-noir knew it was facing a team that had lost just once at home this season. Although the visitors earned their fair share of opportunities, a lack of accuracy in the final third through the first 45 meant the Impact wasn’t able to test goaltender Nick Rimando before heading into the locker rooms, despite five attempts.

In the 20th minute, referee Chris Penso awarded the home team a set piece in dangerous territory. Plata took the free kick and found the bottom right corner, but goalkeeper Evan Bush was able to stretch out and make the timely save on the game’s first shot.

In the 26th minute, after the Impact almost scored following its first corner of the game, Real Salt Lake took possession and broke out on the counter. In an unlucky play, an unlucky collision in the box prompted the referee to award a penalty. Plata stepped up to the spot and found the bottom right corner, giving the hosts the lead.

More energy in the second

Bush was called to action early upon returning from the locker rooms, making another fantastic save by diving to his left and getting a hand on a shot from the top of the box, following a neat corner by Real Salt Lake. The American ‘keeper continued his good string of games, with five saves tonight.

In the 55th minute, a Bleu-blanc-noir corner was played short by Saphir Taïder to Alejandro Silva, who immediately passed to Jukka Raitala on the left hand side. The Finnish defender stepped into it without thinking twice and took a left-footed shot that found the inside of the post on the ‘keeper’s left, tying the game for the visitors.

It was Jukka Raitala’s first MLS goal, and the first by an Impact defender this season. Silva, with six assists in his last seven games, ties Piatti for the club lead with nine apiece, and sits just one shy of the club record.

In the second half, two of the Impact’s transfer deadline day acquisitions, Quincy Amarikwa and Micheal Azira, made their debuts with their new club. The latter created a nice chance in the 89th when he sent a ball deep in enemy territory for Piatti. The midfielder found Silva with a precise pass to the top of the box, but his left-footed shot was tipped away. Amarikwa, on his end, attempted two shots on his debut. 

“We’re always disappointed to not win,” said defender Rudy Camacho. “At the end of it, we could’ve won just like we could’ve conceded another goal. All in all, it’s a good point. A little disappointing, but we’ll take it. ”

“There was room to win,” said midfielder Saphir Taïder. “We’re a little disappointed to not come away with three points. The last pass was missing at times and we could’ve been better technically. Some things didn’t work. Weren’t not leaving happy, but we’ll take the point and get back to work on Monday for our next home game.”

Upcoming games

The Impact will face two direct rivals in the race to an MLS Cup playoff spot in its next two games. First off, the Chicago Fire and Bastian Schweinsteiger will be in town to take on the Bleu-blanc-noir at Stade Saputo on Saturday, August 18 as part of the Pride game, at 7:30pm (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98,5fm). Then, the second game of the season against our biggest rival, Toronto FC, will take place on Saturday, August 25 at 8pm, at BMO Field (TVA Sports, TSN, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690).


MTL – GK-Evan Bush; Jukka Raitala, Victor Cabrera, Rudy Camacho, Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette, Saphir Taïder, Ken Krolicki (Micheal Azira 84’); F-Alejandro Silva, Matteo Mancosu (Quincy Amarikwa 67’), Ignacio Piatti

Subs not used – Clément Diop, Zakaria Diallo, Michael Petrasso, Shamit Shome, Mathieu Choinière

RSL – GK-Nick Rimando; D-Aaron Herrera, Brooks Lennon, Justen Glad, Nick Besler; M-Albert Rusnák, Damir Kreilach (Sebastián Saucedo 84’), Jefferson Savarino, Joao Plata, Kyle Beckerman; F-Corey Baird (Luis Silva 80’)

Subs not used – Andrew Putna, Shawn Barry, Danilo Acosta, Pablo Ruiz, Sunny

RSL – Plata (PEN) 26’
MTL – Raitala (Silva, Taïder) 55’

MTL – Lovitz 66’
RSL – Baird 74’