MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact came back from behind in the second half to beat the Seattle Sounders 2-1, Wednesday night at Stade Saputo. After the Sounders opened the scoring in the 64th minute, a brace in four minutes by Designated Player Saphir Taïder handed the Impact the win, their fourth at home this year, meaning Montreal now ranks second in the Eastern Conference, with 27 points in 18 games.
“We have character,” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “After a loss, we always bounce back. It’s extremely important and it holds a lot of value. I’m very demanding on that end, but in the end, it pays off. We’ve been through a lot since the beginning of the season: injuries, suspensions, and 11 road games out of 18, which is a lot. Despite all that, we’re here. We’ve won quite a few games and we’ve come back from difficult moments. We never faltered. Globally, we’ve been solid, united, and very strong. We need to continue working for one another.”
No shots for the visitors in the first half
Montreal got its first opportunity in the 10th minute, when Omar Browne, on the right wing, found striker Maxi Urruti with a cross into the box. The Argentine controlled it well and found midfielder Micheal Azira alone near the top of the box, but his strike went over the bar.
A few minutes later, Daniel Kinumbe, making his first MLS start, dribbled past his defender on the left flank and made his way to the goal line, before crossing into the danger zone, but his cross was promptly dealt with by the visitors.
Montreal had a nice opportunity to open the scoring in stoppage time, after Saphir Taïder was fouled right outside the Sounders’ box. The Algerian’s cross was well-placed, but the referee whistled a foul on the play.
The hosts did stay solid defensively in the first 45, giving the Sounders no shots at all in the first half, a feat accomplished just one other time this season, while controlling most of possession.
“This was not an easy game or an easy week for either team, but we showed a lot of resilience,” said goalkeeper Evan Bush. “The guys fought and battled all the way through. To walk away with three points gives us some solace going into this break. We haven’t been great this past month, but we’re going into this break in a pretty good position.”
Offensive outburst after the break
Back from the locker room, the hosts got their first real look on goal in the 60th minute. After a long spell of Montreal possession in the Sounders’ final third, midfielder Ken Krolicki finally found Shamit Shome on the run in between two defenders. The midfielder passed to Maxi Urruti, alone in front of goal, but goalkeeper Stefan Frei was there to make the save.
Krolicki was making his first start this season, after he underwent an elbow operation for an injury suffered at the end of training camp.
But it’s the visitors who ended up striking first, against the run of play, in the 64th minute, after a Montreal defender fouled Harry Shipp inside the 18-yard-box, forcing the referee to point to the spot. Victor Rodriguez stepped up to take the shot, beating Evan Bush to his right.
The Impact’s pressure finally paid off in the 74th minute, the referee evening the odds and awarding the home team a penalty of its own after Taïder was brought down in the box. The Designated Player sent Frei the wrong way, scoring his team-leading sixth goal to tie the game.
Four minutes later, the Impact struck again. Ken Krolicki, working on the goal line, passed in the box for Urruti, who immediately found Omar Browne at the top of the box. The Panamanian international looked up and found Taïder at the far post, who beat Frei with a volley.
It marks his seventh game-winning goal with the Impact, the second-most in Impact MLS history with Marco Di Vaio.
“What I take away from this game is the win,” said midfielder Saphir Taïder. We needed these three points before the break. It’s true that tonight, we came back in the game, but it won’t always be possible. Now, we can rest and leave with peace of mind, before restarting on more solid foundations.”
The Impact will take advantage of a three-week international break before hosting the Portland Timbers at Stade Saputo on Wednesday, June 26, at 7:30pm (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690). Montreal will then play a second game in four days when it travels to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to take on Atlanta United on Saturday, June 29 at 6pm (TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690).
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Víctor Cabrera, Zakaria Diallo, Rudy Camacho; M-Shamit Shome, Ken Krolicki, Micheal Azira, Daniel Kinumbe (Harry Novillo 67’); F- Saphir Taïder, Maximiliano Urruti, Omar Browne (Anthony Jackson-Hamel 86’)
Subs not used – Clément Diop, Karifa Yao, Luca Ricci
SEA – GK-Stefan Frei; D-Jonathan Campbell, Kevin Leerdam, Nouhou Tolo, Saad Abdul-Salaam; M-Alex Roldan (Danny Leyva 82’), Handwalla Bwana (Joevin Jones 54’), Harry Shipp, Jordy Delem, Víctor Rodríguez (Henry Wingo 86’); F-Will Bruin
Subs not used – Bryan Meredith, Trey Muse, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez
SEA – Rodríguez (PEN) 65’
MTL – Taïder (PEN) 74’
MTL – Taïder (Browne) 78’
MTL – Camacho 31’
SEA – Tolo 56’
SEA – Delem 61’