MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact was defeated 1-0 by FC Cincinnati, Saturday night at Stade Saputo. Midfielder Allan Cruz scored the game’s lone goal in the first minute.
“When they scored in the first 30 seconds, everything changed for us,” said Impact head coach Wilmer Cabrera. “We weren’t expecting that, and it put more pressure on the players. They scored off an unlucky deflection, but it’s part of the game. We pushed, but we haven’t been able to create enough offensively.”
Early goal for the visitors
The visitors were able to strike early in this one, taking the lead within the first minute, when a cross into Montreal’s box was cleared up to Joseph-Claude Gyau, waiting outside the 18-yard box. The midfielder tried a shot, which was deflected to Allan Cruz, who was able to beat goalkeeper Evan Bush from in close.
The Impact answered in the sixth minute, when Daniel Lovitz found Maxi Urruti down the left wing. The Argentine crossed low into the box for Nacho Piatti, whose shot was initially blocked, but his second attempt was inches away from the left post.
In the 27th minute, Urruti was able to free himself of pressure in the final third and attack the box, passing to Orji Okwonkwo on his right. The Nigerian midfielder tried a shot to the opposite post, but it missed just wide.
The hosts got their best chance in the 40th minute from a nicely worked set-piece. Saphir Taïder, instead of crossing, passed to Nacho Piatti, who turned and crossed to the far post for Bacary Sagna. The French defender was able to head it down for Urruti, but his ensuing shot was saved by goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton.
“We are not in a good moment and when we start the game 1-0 down in the first minute, it’s tough,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “Tonight, it was not through a lack of effort, we had the ball during the whole game. We were not able to find a goal and we conceded an unlucky goal on our side.”
Opportunities in the second
Montreal started the second half positively, getting a chance to equalize right away, in the 46th minute, when Okwonkwo made his way past his man on the right flank and tried a powerful shot, but his effort was blocked.
In the 52nd minute, Designated Player Nacho Piatti almost scored a spectacular volley from outside the box, controlling a pass and letting it bounce once before unleashing a powerful shot, but his attempt missed just wide of the opposite post.
Okwonkwo came closing to levelling the score again in the 64th minute, this time slowly approaching the 18-yard-box from the right side before trying an accurate shot to the opposite post, but again his shot missed wide of the post.
Evan Bush, making a 65th consecutive start with the Impact, was forced into action in the 77th minute, when Gyau was found open in the box, but the American goalkeeper dove to his right and made the save.
“We’re disappointed, said goalkeeper Evan Bush. “We’re lacking confidence right now and it feels like we’re playing with an extra weight on our shoulders. We have to remain focused, as difficult as that seems in this moment. We have a final Wednesday, and you don’t get to play a final every year.”
The Impact will play the first leg of the Canadian Championship final, this Wednesday, September 18, at 7:30pm at Stade Saputo, against Toronto FC (TICKETS - 985sports.ca). Montreal will then head to California to take on the Los Angeles Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday, September 21, at 10:30pm EDT (TVA Sports, 98.5, TSN 690), before going to Toronto for the second leg of the Canadian Championship final on Wednesday, September 25, at 7:30pm against Toronto FC, at BMO Field.
MTL – GK-Evan Bush; D-Bacary Sagna, Jukka Raitala, Rudy Camacho, Daniel Lovitz; M-Samuel Piette, Saphir Taïder, Ignacio Piatti, Bojan (Lassi Lappalainen 76’), Orji Okwonkwo (Ballou Tabla 69’); F-Maximiliano Urruti
Subs not used – Clément Diop, Victor Cabrera, Jorge Corrales, Clément Bayiha, Shamit Shome
CIN – GK-Przemyslaw Tyton; D- Mathieu Deplagne, Maikel van der Werff, Kendall Waston, Greg Garza; M-Allan Cruz (Fatai Alashe 70’), Leonardo Bertone, Frankie Amaya (Nick Hagglund 89’); F-Emmanuel Ledesma, Darren Mattocks (Rashawn Dally 85’), Joseph-Claude Gyau
Subs not used – Jimmy Hague, Andrew Gutman, Corben Bone, Thomas McCabe
CIN – Cruz 1’
MTL – Lovitz 44’
MTL – Okwonkwo 49’
CIN – Waston 60’
MTL – Camacho 68’
CIN – Watson 88’