MONTREAL – In front of a sold-out crowd of 19,619 supporters, the Montreal Impact was defeated 2-0 by Toronto FC, Saturday night at Stade Saputo. Designated Player Alejandro Pozuelo scored the game-winning goal in the 61st minute, before Designated Player Jozy Altidore added an insurance goal in stoppage time on a free-kick.
“We need to react,” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “Our intention was to do so today, and we showed that desire at times. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t equalize following the delay. I think we showed at the end that we could’ve scored. It’s a difficult loss to accept, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
Opportunities in the first
Toronto came close to getting a shot on Evan Bush’s goal when Jozy Altidore found himself in some space behind the defense in the third minute, but the American striker missed just wide of the left post.
In the seventh minute, Montreal’s collective pressing almost paid dividends, as Orji Okwonkwo collected the ball and found himself in on goal, but goalkeeper Quentin Westberg came off his line to block the shot.
In the 15th minute, Okwonkwo came close again, this time collecting the ball at the top of the box from a cross and shooting on the half-volley, but his attempt went just wide.
Midfielder Samuel Piette thought he’d have a go in the 33rd minute, receiving the ball in the final third, turning and shooting from way out, but his attempt just skimmed the crossbar.
“It’s very disappointing,” said goalkeeper Evan Bush. “They carved out a few more clear-cut chances than us, but they weren’t great on the day, and neither were we. They have decisive players who make you pay when you lose the ball in bad areas, and that’s what they did.”
Weather delay after the break
Back from the locker rooms, it was Okwonkwo again who continued to have an impact offensively, undressing has man near the top of the box in the 53rd minute before trying a left-footed shot from outside the box, but he couldn’t find the target.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 61st minute by the visitors. Midfielder Marco Delgado was able to lay it off for Pozuelo in the final third, who ran towards the box before picking out the bottom right corner.
After a 30-minute rain delay, Montreal picked up the pressure. Bacary Sagna managed to find some space on the right side, crossing into the box for an unmarked Anthony Jackson-Hamel, but the striker’s shot went just over the bar.
In the 72nd minute, Montreal was close again, this time when substitute Clément Bayiha managed to find Jackson-Hamel in behind the defense, but his shot was parried away by Westberg.
In the 86th minute, Bush made one of five saves on the night when Delgado slipped a ball in behind the defense for Justin Morrow. The American rushed off his line to cover his angles, and the ensuing shot was cleared off the line by Jukka Raitala.
Toronto added a second in stoppage time, when Altidore was able to beat Bush off a free-kick just outside the box.
“We didn’t offer enough offensively throughout the game and we weren’t dangerous enough in front of goal,” said defender Bacary Sagna. “On their first goal, we put ourselves in danger and it ends up in the back of the net. This game is over now. We need to continue working and start thinking about Columbus.”
Montreal will head to Ohio to take on the Columbus Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, July 20, at 7:30pm (TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690), before hosting York9 FC at Stade Saputo for the second leg of the Canadian Championship quarterfinal on Wednesday, July 24, at 7:30pm (TICKETS - 98.5, TSN 690).
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Bacary Sagna, Víctor Cabrera, Jukka Raitala, Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette (Clément Bayiha 60’), Micheal Azira, Shamit Shome (Maximiliano Urruti 79’); F-Saphir Taïder, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Orji Okwonkwo (Omar Browne 62’)
Subs not used – Clément Diop, Rudy Camacho, Zakadia Diallo, Harry Novillo
TOR – GK-Quentin Westberg; D-Auro (Richie Laryea 76’), Chris Mavinga, Justin Morrow, Omar González; M-Alejandro Pozuelo, Jacob Shaffelburg (Eriq Zavaleta 83’), Marco Delgado, Michael Bradley, Nick DeLeon (Tsubadah Endoh 46’); F-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used – Alex Bono, Ashtone Morgan, Liam Fraser, Patrick Mullins
TOR – Pozuelo (Delgado) 61’
TOR – Altidore 90+5’
TOR – Mavinga 25’
MTL – Lovitz – 60’